Denmark: Exiled Kurdish singer awarded


NEWS

05 December 2007


Denmark:
Exiled Kurdish singer awarded

On 29 November 2007 the Danish Refugee Council awarded Mizgin, a Kurdish refugee musician based in Denmark, with an ‘Artist Award’ and 5,000 US dollars. Mizgin said she would be happy to receive the award “on behalf of the Kurdish musicians who have lost their lives in the struggle for democracy.”

In her speech after having received the award Mizgin thanked the Danish Refugee Council for the acknowledgement, and said:
“I am very happy, but at the same time, I am also very sad. I am sad because in the country which I come from there are many musicians and artists who are persecuted and killed because of their work. There are musicians, writers, journalists and artists who have paid a high price for expressing their opinions. I hope that there will be a day when there is peace in my country, and where we also get an opportunity to build a democratic Kurdistan, and a society where musicians and artists are rewarded. Allow me to recieve this award on behalf of the Kurdish musicians who have lost their lives in the struggle for democracy. A struggle in which their only weapon was their music.”

Mizgin came to Denmark in 1999 as political refugee because she had been harrassed, arrested and imprisoned numerous times since the beginning of her musical career as a singer and saz-player in 1992. In this period, according to Turkish law, singing in the Kurdish language was illegal. She was 21 years old when her debut album was seized by the Turkish authorities. “We were accused of making political propaganda, but my songs were about love, not politics,” explained Mizgin in an interview with the Danish newspaper På Gaden.

During this period in the 1990’s when she lived in Istanbul Mizgin is said to have played a vital part in the development of the Kurdish musical culture.




Mizgin at the award ceremony

Photos (above and below) by Bente Bækgaard, DRC


On 29 November 2007 Mizgin was given flowers and an envelope with 25,000 Danish kroner (equivalent of approximately 5,000 US dollars) at a reception in the World Culture Centre in Copenhagen. The jury of four musicians and music experts who had pointed on Mizgin to receive the council’s award this year said that “she stood out because of the openness in her music” – which referred to the fact that Mizgin has moved from playing pure Kurdish folk music to something which is a fusion of several cultures. The orchestra which she has gathered around her in Denmark (and which also carries the name ‘Mizgin’) consists of musicians from other countries and cultures, namely Bulgaria, Iran and Denmark.



“This is the first time I have received an award, and it makes me happy and proud. The award gives me a new incentive to work for my music, and it gives me new hope for the future,” said Mizgin.




Sources

Paa Gaden – 2 December 2007 (in Danish language):
‘Kunstnerpris til kvindelig, kurdisk verdensmusiker’
  (‘Artist award to female Kurdish world music artist’)

Danish Refugee Council – 29 November 2007 (in Danish language):
‘Kurdisk musiker modtager Dansk Flygtningehjælps kunstnerpris’  (‘Kurdish musician receives Danish Refugee Council’s Artist Award’)

Mizgin’s official home page:
mizgin.dk


Go to top
Related reading on freemuse.org


Turkey: Imprisoned Grup Yorum member silenced in court
“I have been imprisoned for the last 14 months, I want to talk,” said musician Seçkin Taygun Aydoğan from the Kurdish band Grup Yorum to the judge…
04 March 2013
Turkey: Pianist Fazıl Say in court for the second time
The Turkish pianist Fazıl Say will be appearing in court for the second time on Monday 18 February 2013 on charges of insulting religious values
14 February 2013
Turkey: Five members of Grup Yorum detained
Turkish police arrested 85 people, including musicians, in raids against people suspected of links to an outlawed militant group
19 January 2013
Turkey: Ferhat Tunç’s prison sentence turned into speaking ban
A court turned Ferhat Tunç’s two years prison sentence for having promoted İbrahim Kaypakkaya into a three year ban on speaking about the same subject
20 December 2012
Turkey: Authorities’ persecution of Kurdish artists continues
The first hearing of the court case against four members of Grup Yorum along with nine others was held at İstanbul No. 15 High Criminal Court
11 December 2012
Turkey: ‘Silencing Music in Turkey 2012’ – an 18-pages leaflet
The leaflet contains updates on violations of musical expression in Turkey in a period of 12 months. It was published in October 2012
31 October 2012
Turkey: Grup Yorum members allegedly tortured in custody
A singer and a violinist with the band Grup Yorum claim they were tortured in police custody after they were detained during an unauthorized demonstration in İstanbul
27 September 2012
Turkey: Dancing to Kurdish music labelled as propaganda for terrorism
Bedrettin Akyüz, 20, is claimed to have spread propaganda for PKK by dancing the halay [a traditional dance] accompanied by Kurdish songs
13 July 2012
Turkey: Ferhat Tunç sentenced to two years in prison
A court in the eastern province of Malatya sentenced the Kurdish singer on terrorism related charges due to his invocation during a speech he held in 2011
27 June 2012
Turkey: Acclaimed pianist charged for blasphemy
Composer and pianist Fazil Say faces trial on 18 October 2012 on charges of insulting religious values, with a possible 18-month prison sentence
13 June 2012
Turkey: 17-year-old charged for exchanging Kurdish songs on Facebook
Turkish prosecution wanted to imprison 17-year-old Kurdish boy for 40 years after he was accused of eight charges, including the exchange of Kurdish songs on Facebook
23 May 2012
Turkey: Students charged for singing Grup Yorum song
Three students are accused of singing an old song and chanting slogans which allegedly are “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation”
18 May 2012
Turkey: Another legal action against singer Pınar Aydınlar
A lawsuit was filed against folk singer Pınar Aydınlar (Sağ) and the Group Munzur members Özlem Gerçek and Erkan Duman demanding up to five years imprisonment
16 May 2012
Turkey: Grup Yorum member still in detention
Musician Seçkin Aydoğan, member of Group Yorum, was not discharged at the first hearing of the lawsuit against him and four others in İstanbul 15th High Criminal Court
10 April 2012
Turkey: Attack on Grup Yorum member in prison
Grup Yorum made a written statement announcing that a member of their band, Seçkin Aydoğan, was attacked in the prison where he is being detained
02 April 2012
Turkey: Prisoners punished again for singing Kurdish songs
17 inmates of Kocaeli T Type Prison have received disciplinary charge by the warden of three more months in prison for having been “singing and dancing illegally”
13 March 2012
Turkey: Şanar Yurdatapan: ‘There is a lot of work to do for all of us’
In 2012, there were no acticities marking Music Freedom Day in Turkey. “This means the work is not over yet,” wrote Sanar Yurdatapan in his chronicle on the day
03 March 2012
Turkey: Musician of Grup Yorum detained
Seckin Aydogan, a member of the band Grup Yorum, has been in detention for six weeks. Band members pledge to hold solidarity concerts
14 February 2012
Turkey: Killed for requesting a Kurdish song
A weekend in December 2011 ended tragically when a man was brutally murdered after he requested that musicians in a bar sing a folksong in Zaza Kurdish, his native language
03 January 2012
Turkey: Ferhat Tunç in court once again
Kurdish singer Ferhat Tunç is the target of seven investigations and two trials due to speeches he held during his campaign for the general elections in June 2011
16 December 2011