Olcay Bayir: Tu Guli (ARC Music/digital outlets)

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Otme Bulbul/Don't Sing Nightingale
Olcay Bayir: Tu Guli (ARC Music/digital outlets)

This London-based Kurdish Anatolian singer was born in Turkey, studied opera singing in London but returned to the music of the broad Anatolia region with a series of albums and EPs which have won wide acclaim.

We hailed her 2019 album Ruya: Dream for Anatolia saying “there is an understated yearning here, themes of all kinds of love and understanding are prominent . . . lovely and thought-provoking”.

This further installment – the title translates to “you are a rose” – once more delves into the Kurdish/Turkish heritage in songs which have a palpable poignancy (Adana about the Armenian Genocide in 1915 perpetrated by Ottoman Turks), celebratory dance (the wedding song Edle), lamentation (Ay Dilbere where some passages suggest a restrained Yoko Ono but freighted with equal pain) and more.

This, taken together can be quite transporting in songs accompanied by contemporary and traditional instruments (double bass, guitar, oud, duduk).

The lyrics in Kurdish, Turkish and Armenian are all translated in the CD booklet.

As before, an album which is both history lesson and cultural insight but delivered in songs of great depth, beauty and hurt.

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You can hear this album at Spotify here, but you really need the CD with the lyrics and essay.


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