Playlist: Olcay Bayir – Anatolian Alchemy (April 2022)

She might have been based in London since she was a teenager and been enriching its music scene since the early 2010s, but Olcay Bayir is still one of the most refined and dedicated interpreters of the Anatolian tradition.

Her style is a contemporary take on her Turkish-Kurdish roots. Born in Gaziantep (South-East of the country), daughter of an ashik (the Turkish equivalent of a bard) and classically trained as a soprano, with her music Olcay takes herself on adventures throughout the Anatolian Peninsula far and wide. She delves into its diverse styles and lesser-known repertoires, and unearths wide-ranging influences from the border with Greece to the Armenian one, also touching the Alevi, Balkan and Sephardic traditions.

From next week, Olcay will kick off her late Spring/Summer tour, she just announced the first UK dates (you can find all of them below), so to offer you a better understanding of her inspiration, we asked her to compile a playlist to shine a light on the “Anatolian alchemy” behind her music.


Photo ©: Nilay Islek