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Kurdish Singer Aynur Wins WOMEX 2021 Artist Award!

Kuridsh Singer, songwriter and instrumentalist Aynur Doğan is the winner of the WOMEX 2021 Artist Award!

"It is for her long-term dedication to the preservation and innovation of Kurdish and Alevi culture, for maintaining the highest artistic integrity in the face of political pressure and, in doing so, for being a model for all that sing against the silencers, that Aynur Doğan is a very worthy recipient of the WOMEX 21 Artist Award." WOMEX 2021

On receiving the prestigious award at the 27th edition of WOMEX, Aynur Doğan shared:

"Music is the key to lost cultures, the way to return to the source, to the essence. It is proof that we are different but come from the same core. Therefore, every different tone in this world is the legacy of all of us - it's like not letting a piece of earth slip away. One of the most important steps of my musical journey started with WOMEX in 2006...It is an honour for me to represent the music of 40 million people whose existence is not yet recognized and does not have a country. I am honoured to dedicate this award to all women in the world in the presence of Kurdish women who are fighting for freedom, equality and peace."

As both a Kurd and an Alevi, Aynur Doğan's cultural heritage has always been subject to discriminatory laws and public persecution, whether in the small mountain town of emişgezek where she grew up, or the metropolis of Istanbul. With her music, however, singer and bağlama player Doğan now usually known simply as Aynur creates space for her identities and for those that share them.

At its core, Aynur's music is based on Kurdish folk songs. Her voice in turns bold and powerful or delicate, almost fragile always holds these centuries-old melodies in tender embrace. She carries these songs as a caretaker and a friend. She preserves the Kurdish and Alevi songs against those that would have them silenced, but at the same time, those songs give her the strength to continue as a commanding voice in support of those cultures.

Tradition doesn't restrict Aynur's music, though. Her own style blends the Kurdish and the Western, and collaborations with world-class musicians from many fields (including Yo-Yo Ma, Kayhan Kalhor, Mercan Dede and Javier Limn) have led to a passionate, international fanbase. Her accessible music allows her to spread her words far and wide.

This popularity and her outspoken nature has made her the target of right-wing and anti-Kurd groups in Turkey. Her shows became marred by disruptions, leading Aynur to move her base to Amsterdam in 2012. This has not dampened her fire: the most recent of her seven albums, 2020's Hedr, went to #1 on the world music charts and has led to a concert in Carnegie Hall (understandably postponed for now).

It is for her long-term dedication to the preservation and innovation of Kurdish and Alevi culture, for maintaining the highest artistic integrity in the face of political pressure and, in doing so, for being a model for all that sing against the silencers, that Aynur Doğan is a very worthy recipient of the WOMEX 21 Artist Award.



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