Çiğdem Aslan is an Istanbul-born singer who performs in many languages and regional styles, including Turkish, Kurdish, Greek, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Romany and Ladino. Her musical journey started within the family. Coming from a Kurdish-Alevi background, in which music is one of the pivotal elements of the culture, she was inspired by its rich sounds and gradually met with the other musical styles of Istanbul and beyond. While studying English literature at Istanbul University, she regularly performed Rebetiko, Sephardic and other ethnic music from Turkey.
In 2003 she moved to London and joined Dunav Balkan Group, which broadened her repertoire and skills alongside various workshops.
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/bağlama and herself on frame drums.
She studied music at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Çiğdem has been performing and touring her debut album ‘Mortissa’ which was released by Asphalt Tango Records in October 2013. The album focuses on Rebetiko and Smyrnaic songs from Asia Minor and Greece, mainly from the 1930s.
The album received great reviews from all around the world, including the Guardian, NPR, Songlines, fRoots, Evening Standard, and New York Music Daily. It entered the World Music Charts Europe at 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 Filmkritik – Verleihung / German Record Critics Award.
She released her second album ‘A Thousand Cranes’ in October 2016.