Çiğdem Aslan is an Istanbul-born singer who sings in many languages and regional styles, including Turkish, Kurdish, Greek, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Romany and Ladino. Her musical journey started within the family. Coming from Kurdish-Alevi background, in which music is one of the pivotal elements of the culture, she grew up with the rich sounds of her culture and then gradually met with the other sounds of Istanbul and beyond.
While studying English literature at Istanbul University, she regularly performed Rebetiko, Sephardic and other ethnic music of Turkey.
In 2003 she moved to London and joined Dunav Balkan Group, which alongside various workshops broadened her repertoire and skills.
In 2008 she joined She’Koyokh; "Britain’s best klezmer and Balkan music band" Songlines
She also performs folk songs from different regions of Anatolia accompanied by Tahir Palali on kopuz/baglama and herself on frame drums.
She studied music at Goldsmith’s University.
Cigdem has been performing and touring her debut album 'Mortissa' which has been released from Asphalt Tango Records in October 2013. The album focuses on Rebetiko and Smyrnaic songs from Asia Minor and Greece mainly from 1930s.
The album received great reviews from all around the world; including the Guardian, NPR, Songlines, fRoots, Evening Standard, New York Music Daily; and entered the World Music Charts Europe from top ten and stayed there for months. It was chosen as one of the best albums of 2013 by fRoots and Songlines Magazine which nominated and shortlisted Cigdem in the 'Best Artist' category for Songlines Music Awards 2014.
In 2014 Mortissa won the prestigious „Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik/ German Record Critics Award"
She released her second album 'A Thousand Cranes' in October 2016.
Cigdem is in high demand for collaborations, European tours and cultural radio and TV appearances.
Perfromance highlights include;
Royal Albert Hall, London
Southbank Centre, London
Cadogan Hall, London
Jazz Cafe, London
WOMAD (UK & Spain)
Pergamon Museum, Berlin
Union Chapel, London
World on Three, BBC Radio 3
Loose Ends, BBC Radio 4
Cerys on 6, BBC Radio 6
Traumzeit Festival, Duisberg (DE)
Snape Proms, Aldeburgh (UK)
Warsaw Cultural Festival, Warsaw (PL)
Jewish Culture Festival, Krakow (PL)
Buskers’ Bern, Switzerland
Radio France, Paris
Polish Radio, Warsaw (PL)
Mawazine Festival, Morocco
Les Nuits de Fourvière, Lyon (FR)
Førde Festivalen, Norway
TFF Rudolstadt, Germany
Palace of Arts, Budapest (HU)
Boğaziçi Üniversitesi, Istanbul (TR)