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Çiğdem Aslan (pronounced Chee-dem) 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 İstanbul from the 1920s - 40s. With strong roots in the port of Smyrna/İzmir, 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) , Çiğdem's first release, is an album of smyrneika/rebetiko songs in Greek and Turkish. Although there have been many recordings of rebetiko over the years, Çiğdem Aslan pre...