The Kurdish Music Industry: History and Politics

with Alev Kuruoğlu

hosted by Chris Gratien

The situation of Kurdish language and culture in Turkey is one that has been very much in flux within an ever-changing political climate. The Kurdish music industry has become increasingly lively in recent years under more favorable legal conditions, though even still, many feel that the scene remains underground. Because of its tenuous legal status, the production of Kurdish music irrespective of lyrical content has also historically carried an inherent political meaning. Meanwhile, producers and artists operating under difficult conditions have faced challenges when trying to distribute and sell their music. In this podcast, Alev Kuruoğlu discusses the history of Kurdish music recordings both in Turkey and abroad and the development of the Kurdish music industry.


Alev Kuruoğlu is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Business at Bilkent University (see
Chris Gratien is a doctoral candidate at Georgetown University researching the social and environmental history of the Ottoman Empire and the modern Middle East. (see

Şivan Perwer

Şakiro - Ez Rebenim
Ayşe Şan - Zeri Heyran
Şivan Perwer - Yar Merhaba
Şivan Perwer - Halepçe
Agire Jiyan - Adare
Koma Amed - Amediye
Ahmet Kaya - Ağladıkça
Kardeş Türküler - Kerwane
Mehmet Atlı - Pişmamo

Further Listening

Note that some of these are re-issues of cassettes produced in Europe in the 1980s/90s, some of them are re-issues of “home” recordings. Therefore, the years in parantheses do not refer to the year they were recorded but rather to the date that this particular album, in CD format, was issued. 

Dengbej/ Traditional

Ayşe Şan
Ayşe Şan – Stranen Bijarti (2007) Kom Müzik
Şakiro – Bave Fexro (1998) Aydın Müzik
Karapete Xaço – Edule (2000) Kom Müzik
Aram Tigran – Çiyaye Gebare (2004) Aydın Müzik
Salihe Qubini – Zeyne (2001) Medya Müzik
Ape Bekir – Nalina Serhede (2007) Medya Müzik
Gazin – Evdale Zeynike (2001) Aydın Müzik

Diaspora Artists (active since the 1970s-80s)

Şivan Perwer – Agiri/ Yar Merhaba (1982) – re-issued in Turkey by Ses Plak; Şivanname 1&2 (2012) Pel Records
Nizamettin Ariç – Rojek te; album: Daye (1987), re-issued in Turkey by Ses Plak; Azadi (2011) Kalan Müzik
Beytocan – Axinate Nalinamın (2001) Silvana Müzik
Ali Baran  - Dem e Dem e (2007), Aydın Müzik; Çel Awaz (2012) Baran Müzik
Xemgin Birhat – Jin u Hebun (2012) Kom Müzik

1990s Political Music Scene: Istanbul MKM-based 

Ahmet Kaya
Koma Amed – Derguş (1997 – Ses Plak)
Agire Jiyan – Adare (1995 – Ses Plak)
Koma Denge Azadi – Fedi (1998) Ses Plak
Koma Çiya  - Dilana Besinor (1998) Kom Müzik
Koma Rojhilat – Mezrabotanım Ez (1997)  Kom Müzik

Late 1990s/2000s – New Sounds

Kardeş Türküler – Doğu (1997) Kalan Müzik
Metin-Kemal Kahraman* – Ferfecir (1999) Lizge Müzik (zazaki)
Çarnewa – Mak (2002) Kom Müzik
Agire Jiyan
Aynur (Doğan) – Keçe Kurdan (2004) Kalan Müzik; Rewend (2010) Sony Müzik
Rojda – Sebra Mın (2006) Kom Müzik; Hat (2011) Kom Müzik
Mikail Aslan* – Zernkut (2008 / Kalan Müzik) (zazaki)
Mehmet Atlı – Jahr (2003 Anadolu Müzik); Wenda (2008 Kom Müzik)
Bajar – Nezbe / Yaklaş (2009) Kalan Müzik
Serhado – Heyale Evin (2009) Kom Müzik
Burhan Berken – Evar (2011) Anadolu Müzik
Siya Şeve – Beyom (2012) self-produced (


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