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World Music CD Reviews Middle East & North Africa

SIVAN PERWER

By RAFFI MENESHIAN
Published May 31, 2006

Sivan Perwer
Caprice

Sivan Perwer is the dynamic self-titled recording from the iconic Kurdish composer/vocalist/saz player from Urfa in Eastern Turkey. That he lives in Sweden is no accident; he fled his homeland in 1976 fearing for his life. The crime? Singing in his native Kurdish language. Labeled as “Mountain Turks” by the government, Kurds like Perwer were forbidden to teach, speak or learn about their own culture. With such oppression surrounding him, Perwer wrote songs reflecting the growing Kurdish national movement, applying unique musical capabilities to galvanize an entire ethnic group to take up arms. Perwer has attained legendary status with his searing and versatile voice. “Sebra Mala” and “Tembura Min” bring him back to his protest roots, while other tunes focus on love, exile and everyday life. All feature Perwer’s voice along with an expert ensemble of traditional folk musicians playing the dumbeg, duduk, zourna and the kemancha. Sivan Perwer is a message in a bottle created by the aging Kurdish master, asking the world to acknowledge ongoing Kurdish oppression. To date, Perwer remains in exile.