Kardeş Türküler is a renowned Turkish folk band with a varying line-up that plays folk songs in all the original spoken languages of Turkey. The band was founded in 1993 by a group of conservatory students in the Folklore Club of the Boğaziçi University in Istanbul with the goal of fraternizing and celebrating all the different cultures and ethnic minorities in Turkey. Their repertoire consists of songs in Turkish, Armenian, Kurdish, Azerbaijani and many more languages. The band performed at numerous world music festivals in Europe, including Amsterdam Roots, Stimmen in the German city of Lörrach and surrounding towns, the Oslo World Music Festival and Istanbul Ekspres in Gent. Very often, the band works with guest musicians, including Armenian avant-garde folk musician Arto Tunçboyacıyan, American Armenian oud player Ara Dinkjian, British Palestinian jazz singer Reem Kelani and pop singer Sezen Aksu from Turkey. Kardeş Türküler also performed as the backing band on the album by Roj û Heyv the Kurdish poet and musician Şivan Perwer, who is controversial because of his fight for the rights of the Kurdish people. The band made music for several movies, including Vizontele by director Yılmaz Erdoğan, one of the most successful Turkish movies ever made, and Kingdom of Heaven by the director Ridley Scott. Kardeş Türküler was awarded with the prize for best film score at the Antalya Altın Portakal Film Festival, the most important film festival in Turkey. The band was featured in several international world music magazines, including the British magazine Folk Roots and the German magazine Folker!
Candan Erçetin (b. 1963) is one of the most respected contemporary Turkish pop singers. She studied classical opera at the conversatory of Istanbul. Already during her studies her carreer in pop music started, when she participated in the 1986 Eurovision Song Contest with pop band Klips ve Onlar as replacement for band member Seden Kutlubay. They reached the 9th position, at that moment the highest position the country had ever reached in the competition. Her solo carreer then started in 1995 with the release of her debut album Hazırım. On this album, she used influences of the traditional music of the Thracians, a group of Indo-European tribes that lived on what is now the border between Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria. It became one of the best selling Turkish pop albums of the year. Since then Erçetin has released nine more albums, including an album of French chansons (Chante Hier Pour Ajourd’hui, 2003), an album of Greek and Turkish folk songs (Aman Doktor, 2005) and an album where she reinterpreted highly popular Turkish cover versions of French pop songs of the 1960s and 1970s (Aranjman 2011). In 2014, she was awarded with the title Knight in the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by president François Hollande. Apart from her work as a musician Erçetin also hosted several talk shows and music programmes on Turkish television. She is a guest lecturer at the Galatasaray University Law Faculty and she is the vice president of the Galatasaray football club.
The Dutch singer, pianist and composer with Turkish roots Karsu Dönmez has built an impressive career for herself over the last few years. At a young age, she already performed at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Istanbul Jazz Festival and no less than three times at Carnegie Hall in New York. Playing the piano from age seven, Karsu soon went on to combine the classics of Chopin, Mozart, Bach and Beethoven with traditional Turkish songs and modern jazz. At the age of fourteen she started performing in her father's Turkish restaurant in Amsterdam. After receiving an invitation from the Netherlands American Community Trust to perform at Carnegie Hall, she became a popular artist, appearing in various Dutch radio and television shows as well as performing on concert stages all around the world.
With her extraordinary, powerful voice echoing the jazz traditions of New Orleans, Karsu has played in more than twelve countries, including Indonesia, Brazil, Surinam and the United Kingdom. She has also performed regularly in Turkey, including a performance guesting in the famous Turkish television show Şeffaf Oda. On her debut album Confessions (2012) she introduced a subtle stylistic shift towards light jazz with influences of pop, blues and Turkish music.