Kurdish artist Aynur Doğan received the ‘WOMEX 2021 Artist Award’ at the award ceremony held in Porto on Sunday.
The world music expo WOMEX announced in August that Doğan was the winner of the ‘2021 Artist Award,’ stating that “it is for her long-term dedication to the preservation and innovation of Kurdish and Alevi culture, for maintaining the highest artistic integrity in the face of political pressure and, in doing so, for being a model for all that sing against the silencers.”
“I would like to thank all my listeners, my sister Aysun and my mother. She has made a great contribution. Like all mothers who help their children, on that point, I would like to say in Kurdish music, in my music, there are a lot of laments that are mostly composed by women, but only men were allowed to sing them, generation after generation, until this century. I thank these women. Therefore, I am so honoured to dedicate this award to all Kurdish mothers and also to all the women around the world who are struggling for peace and freedom. I have a lot of respect for your significant mission in this world,” Doğan said, upon receiving her award from Ton Maas.
Doğan ended her speech with the words: “Gelek spas (‘Thank you’ in Kurdish), thank you very much, teşekkür ederim (‘thank you’ in Turkish). Biji jinen azad! (‘Long live the free women’ in Kurdish).”
“It is an honour for me to represent the music of 40 million people, whose existence is not yet recognised and who do not have a country. I am honoured to dedicate this award to all women in the world, in the presence of Kurdish women who are fighting for freedom, equality and peace,” she had initially said in August, upon receiving the WOMEX award.
“She has been a target of the right-wing and anti-Kurd groups in Turkey. Her shows became marred by disruptions, leading Aynur to move her base to Amsterdam in 2012. This has not dampened her fire: the most recent of her seven albums, 2020’s ‘Hedûr,’ topped the charts in world music and led to a concert at Carnegie Hall (understandably postponed for now),” WOMEX had stated in a press release, explaining in detail how the Kurdish and Alevi artist has been subjected to discriminatory laws and public persecution due to her identity as a Kurd and an Alevi.
Doğan has become the second Kurdish artist to win the WOMEX award, after Kurdish musician Kayhan Kalhor received the award in 2019.