Asphalt Tango Records - the leading voice in Gypsy and Eastern Music

Çiğdem Aslan


Çiğdem Aslan - Mortissa
Booking worldwide

Release: 27th September 2013

Cat. Nr.: CD-ATR 4313
Format: CD 13 tracks
Total playing time 52:56
File under: Rebetiko / Turkey / Greece
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Rebetiko from the turbulent times of the 1920s sung in Greek and Turkish
world music charts europePreis der deutschen SchallplattenkritikSonglines Best Albums 2013 AnnouncedÇiğdem Aslan (pronounced Cheedem) is a rising star in the revival of rebetiko, the bitter-sweet, devil-may-care songs of an exiled underclass, sung in hash dens and 'Café Amans' of Athens, Piraeus and Istanbul from the 1920. With strong roots in the port of Smyrna/Izmir, rebetiko is a culture shared by Greeks and Turks that developed in mainland Greece following forced population exchanges, and was famously outlawed in both countries for its association with the underworld and being too 'oriental' in outlook.

‘Mortissa’ (a strong independent woman) is an album of smyrneika/rebetiko songs in Greek and Turkish with musical roots in Anatolia. This 'Blues of the Aegean' arose in the turbulent times of the 1920s. Rebetiko was at one time banned by both Greek and Turkish authorities for being socially degenerative. Alongside love songs, one song celebrates the Robin Hood style outlaw Mehmet Efe, another is a cry of a woman longing to escape from her veil, yet another talks of “leeks” as a euphemism for hashish, and in “Sto Kafe Aman” the mortissa tells her suitors to go sling their hook. This is the music of the alternative, the underground scene, the music of freedom-loving people; appropriate for the current situation.

2013 is not the first time that the beautiful city of Istanbul has been in turmoil, like a cursed diamond. Full of meaning for all who have experienced it, it is no surprise that singer Çiğdem Aslan, who was born to Kurdish Alevi parents in Sisli, not far from Taksim Square, the focus for the pro-democracy protests, has felt concerned and deeply involved, even from a distance. Back in 1955 state-sponsored riots decimated the Greek population of Istanbul. Before that the Turkish republican movement and war of liberation forced Greeks out of the rest of Anatolia.

Although there have been many recordings of rebetiko over the years, Çiğdem Aslan presents a fresh take, an immigrant herself from her homeland, a person from a minority ethnic group, a female singer in a usually male genre. But above all she brings personality and a voice that communicates deeply, the kind of voice that can help unlock the riches and relevance of this “Blues of the Aegean” to new audiences. Having made her mark singing as front singer of award-winning She’koyokh Klezmer Ensemble in which she has won plaudits for the “clear, natural ease” with which she sings (Songlines Magazine) and her “no-nonsense from the heart passion" (fRoots Magazine), and also having graced the stage at the Royal Albert Hall as opening act for Turkish diva Sezen Aksu and for Yasmin Levy at London’s Cadogan Hall, with this debut album Çiğdem is ready to take the stage as a star in her own right.
Sebastian Merrick


Çiğdem Aslan - vocals, She’Koyokh, Nikos Angousis-Doitsidis - clarinet, Matt Bacon - guitar, Nikolaos Baimpas - kanun, santouri, mandolins & mandolas, baglama, chorus, Makis Baklatzis - violin, Cahit Baylav - violin, Pavlos Carvalho - bouzouki, Philippos Demetriou - bells, finger cymbals, spoons, riq, beads, Odysseas Elia - bouzouki, Susi Evans - clarinet, Meg Hamilton - violin, Sevtap Işık - chorus, Vasilis Lemonias - cello, Paul Melas - guitar, vocals, Tahir Palalı - fretless guitar, kopuz, Anatolian baglama, davul, oud, chorus, Vasilis Sarikis - darbuka, finger cymbals, riq, Guy Schalom - darbuka, riq, bendir, Paul Tkachenko - double bass, mandolin


1. Aman Katerina Mou (Oh My Katerina) 4:26 / 2. Vale Me Stin Agalia Sou (Take Me In Your Arms) 3:44 / 3. To Dervisaki (Little Dervish) 4:53 / 4. Bir Allah (One God) 3:23 / 5. Pane Gia To Praso (Out For Leek) 2:47 / 6. Trava Vre Manga Kai Alani (Away With You, Manga) 3:29
7. Ferece (Veil) 3:35 / 8. Nenni (Lullaby) 5:20 / 9. Çakıcı 3:50 / 10. Sto Kafe Aman (At The Cafe Aman) 3:14 / 11. Uşaklı Kız (Girl from Uşak) 4:16 / 12. Kanarini (Canary) 4:28 / 13. S’agapo
(I Love You) 5:16

All tracks published by Asphalt Tango Records GmbH except track 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Total playing time 52:56


Recommended listening

label label label
Aman Katerina Mou Pane Gia To Praso Sto Kafe Aman


For more information please contact: Asphalt Tango Records ·
Tel +49 30 285 85 28 · Fax +49 30 285 85 12 · Ackerstr. 14/15 · D-10115 Berlin

For PR G/A/S: Ute Kirchmann -
Tel +49 30 285 85 28 · Fax +49 30 285 85 12

For PR F: Thomas Bonifas, Metisse Music ·
Tel +33 1 40590473

For PR UK: Mike Gavin, Edition PR ·
Tel + 44 (0) 741223 8617

For PR USA: Garret Baker ·
Tel +1 (0) 812-339-1816

This production was mastered by Jason Emberton at Westbourne Studios London.