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Aisha Shan, the Kurdish woman whose voice has affected society

Aisha Shan, the Kurdish woman whose voice has affected society, The Kurdish artist, Aisha Shan, is considered one of the most influential female voices in contemporary Kurdish music. Turkish nationalism.

 Birth and upbringing:

Aisha Shan was born in the city of Diyarbakir in northern Kurdistan (Turkey) in 1938, to her father, Muhammad Osman Ali Shan, and to her mother, Alif Khan.

Her father died during World War II after an illness, and Shan is still young

She studied until primary school and lived a miserable childhood in the city of Diyarbakir. She was the eldest sister of three daughters and one son, to a poor family who kneaded and sold bread in her home.

The beginning of talent:

Aisha Shan was influenced by her father, who used to memorize many folkloric and heritage songs, and singers and vocalists would gather in his house to revive the dark nights and sing.  The talent and this delicate feeling towards singing, boosted her confidence and voice, she tried to sing in public places, but the conservative and traditional family stood in the way of her desire.

The first experiment:

Aisha Shan’s strong insistence prompted her to record her first disc secretly when she was fifteen years old, and the songs gained wide popularity in popular circles, which made her famous as a Kurdish singer with a melodious voice, but the family, in order to preserve her value and position among society, was quick to discourage her from this  On the way, she married her to a married man with children, at the age of her father, in order to occupy her with the affairs of life and forget the matters of singing. However, his life was difficult, and despite the difficult circumstances she faced, she, under her love for art, ran away from her husband’s house with her young daughter Yasmine, and returned to Diyarbakir.  again.

Reconsidering the circumstances:

(Cover of Aisha Chan’s songs collection with Jamil Horo)


She faced again in Diyarbakir the society’s views of her, and people’s negative talk about her, but she met a man who loved her voice and asked her to marry, so she stipulated him not to prevent her from singing, so he agreed, so they married, fate continued to oppose her, because of the custom of revenge that was widespread among the circles  The Kurdish clans in the city, her husband was killed after a short period of marriage, and this forced her to travel at the end of the fifties to the city of Gaziantep.


-First professional experience:

After arriving in Gaziantep, and began to secure life expenses by working there in an office selling internal transport cards, in addition to presenting a group of her songs on the local governmental Gaziantep Radio, Aisha Chan got acquainted with great artists in Gaziantep, and began to sing more professionally and with modern musical instruments, she sang  At first, it was in the Turkish language, and it became very popular on the radio, and party contractors ran over to it to contract with it to hold artistic concerts.  Her songs, as she sang in a forbidden language at that time, suffered a lot after that, and this crisis was accompanied by the death of her daughter, so she could no longer bear to live in Gaziantep and traveled to Istanbul in 1961, and settled there.

The beginning of stardom in Istanbul:

In Istanbul in 1963, she recorded her first professional disc, accompanied by a band, entitled “Ez Xezal im” and it contained two Kurdish songs,

And this was the life of Sama al-Kurd, the gesture at the time of great daring, as the Turkish government at the time considered speaking the Kurdish language a criminal act punishable by law, let alone recording songs in the Kurdish language, and despite the harassment that began to be exposed to it, but its success and fame made the owners of  Record companies are rushing to produce new records, especially since their first record ran out from the market very quickly, and because they are not expert in matters of marketing and contracts, and because they are legally ignorant of their rights, they were subjected to fraud and exploitation by record companies, and their technical capabilities were exploited, and they recorded two new records for them, which met  A great success that made her one of the singing stars in Turkey.

After that, she began to sing in high-end parties, and requests to revive concerts rushed to her from all sides, and she began to sing alongside the great Turkish artists at the time, such as (Arif Sagh, Zaki Morn, Nuri Sisi Kozel, Orhan Keng Bey and others),

Travel to Iraq and communicate with famous Kurdish artists

At the request of some friends, I went to Iraq and to the city of Mosul in particular, and contacted the famous Kurdish artists at the time, Muhammad Aref Jaziri and Issa Barwari, and then headed to Baghdad, where I recorded art sessions on Radio Baghdad, and participated in singing with great artists such as Tahsin Taha, Muhammad  Aref Jaziri, Kurdish Messenger, Kulbahar and Issa Barwari performing in concerts in Baghdad, Hawler, Mosul and Dohuk

Being stabbed for singing in Kurdish

After her return to Turkey, she was subjected to severe pressure by the Turkish authorities, as she was forced to hide from sight for a period of time at the request of some Kurdish politicians at the time – despite the threats made to his life not to sing in the Kurdish language, and to present her with temptations that if she left singing in the Kurdish language, it would be opened.  She has the opportunity to sing in the official Turkish Radio and Television TRT, and many other temptations, but she insisted on singing in her mother tongue, rejecting all temptations, relying on her beloved voice and stardom that she achieved.

But she did not expect the reaction of the Turkish nationalists to be this harsh, as a Turkish fanatic, motivated by chauvinistic nationalist motives, stabbed her with a knife on the stage while she was reviving one of her concerts in Istanbul

She was treated in the hospital, and after she recovered, she decided to leave Turkey and go to Europe, and in 1972 she actually traveled to Germany, after being invited by the Kurdish community there to perform some parties, and indeed she presented in Germany a group of successful parties, which made her move to hold other parties.  In the Netherlands, Austria, and British London.  The BBC conducted a long interview with her on Radio

Back to Turkey

After staying for nearly four years in Germany, she could not stand the suffering of exile and immigration, and began planning to return to Turkey, so she returned to Istanbul in 1976 and released her most famous and best-selling CD (Memo Gider Alamanya’ya), which was considered

She then suffered from destitution after being besieged by Turkish nationalists, which made her enter into difficult psychological conditions, until in the nineties of the last century she recorded three new cassettes in the Kurdish language “Werin Werin Pêşmerge”, “Diyarbekir” and “Newroz” after allowing  In the time of President Turgut Ozal in 1990

Then I left for the city of Izmir, and started working on its radio

 her departure:

Her last appearance was in 1992 in Izmir at a party organized by the Kurdish Culture and Arts Center, after which she was exposed to a chronic illness and died in a hospital in Izmir on 12/18/1996 after her news was cut off from the outside world for many years.

She was buried in Izmir, in a less-than-ordinary ceremony in which her son Murat and daughter Yasmine participated, in addition to the presence of a few acquaintances.

Aisha Chan’s songs were characterized by tenderness and a melodious voice in a rare way, although she did not study at an art academy or a music institute, but she was distinguished by her own artistic style, and she sang multiple colors, difficult maqams, and on various topics such as passion, separation, nature,  and the homeland

She sang in many languages ​​other than Kurdish, such as Turkish, Persian and Arabic, and she did not differentiate between sects and religions, the language of the song for her was its messenger towards the noble human art.

Research and Brochures Committee of the Kongra Star Training Committee, Al-Hasakah District.

Research and Brochures Committee

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