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İbrahimova: Jazz is the voice of the women oppressed and who are subjected to violence.

As well as her strong and unique voice technique of four octaves, also known with her a capella performance, the world-renowned Jazz Artist Yıldız İbrahimova will sing for the women, who are subjected to violence, on 8th of March. She thinks that “Jazz is the voice of sadness” and says “Jazz is also the voice of the all murdered, harassed and raped women. I will sing for all women on that day.”

Cengiz Aldemir

As part of the International Women’s Day on 8th March, world-renowned jazz artist Yıldız İbrahimova, preparing to bring the city-dwellers of Ankara together with Classical Jazz and Balkan music, will be accompanied by her daughter Alinda Suna Dinçer in the double bass and Kaan Yüksel in the piano.  İbrahimova and Dinçer will face art lovers in a wide range from classical music and jazz to folk music. Artists will perform art of composers like Bach, Brahms, Gershwin, Duke Ellington and Paisiell.


Yıldız İbrahimova, who gives an interview to Halagazeteciyiz.net, is also wife of Ali Dinçer, the former mayor of Ankara and the former deputy of PRP(CHP). Since she was two and a half, Yıldız İbrahimova grew up singing melodies of her mother and the songs she heard from television and radio. İbrahimova says that when she was at primary school, she was getting on the stage and sang songs and tells her music journey:

“When we were on third or fourth year at primary school, we played a game about which occupation we will do. I choose the paper which musician-artist was written on it; and included our teacher everyone said that ‘we aren’t surprised; it is obvious that you will be an artist.’ When I was ten, I went to the School of Music for Kids, for piano and solfeggio. At fourteen, I continued my education at Music High School of Sophia and Bulgarian State Academy. I graduated from departments of vocal training and theory. For a musician, theory is crucial; it brings a sound musical background.”


Ibrahimova, who is one of the few artists in the world with her 4 octave sound, said that her process of meeting jazz started in the school years, while she was singing lieds and arias. “When I entered to Sophia Music High School, my teacher categorized my voice as coloratura soprano. In fact I had low pitched sounds. One day I told this to my teacher and asked her for listen me; she was very surprised when she had heard a four octave sound. I continued singing lieds and arias from soprano literature. A few months later my teacher said me that they can’t use this four octave sound, because there was no literature, continuing in this way didn’t make much sense. One of my friends brought me a cassette of Ella Fitzgerald and said me that she was a good jazz singer and necessarily listen to her. I had heard of Fitzgerald, but not knew much well about her. When I listened to the cassette, I realized that it was the music I’d like to do. In jazz, I mostly impressed by improvisation.” she told and stated that it was the possibility of using all of features of her voice that leads her to the jazz.

Jazz has become an integral part of the life of İbrahimova who continues her vocal training in high school and later. Ibrahimova states that she started to jazz with George Gershwin’s songs and says that Gershwin contributed too much during the transition from classical to jazz.


Ibrahimova gave concerts in USA, Japan and many countries of Europe. She gave concerts in nearly fifty countries on five continents and she has 20 records. Ibrahimova told the story of settlement in Turkey, while planning to settle in France, as follows:

“I received an invitation from Turkey for a jazz festival but I wasn’t allowed because I could run away, here was a sort of prohibition. In 1990, upon the invitation of Selim Selçuk, settling in Turkey with Bulgarian musicians did not even cross my mind. At those times, we had many projects in various countries with French musicians. There were very serious offers coming from France, I thought that I could settle in Paris. However, my late husband Ali Dinçer, to whom I met during my visit to Turkey, changed pace of my life. He was a very valuable person, a successful politician. He was a deputy when we met. In fact, politics was an area that I have an edge with, even in the 1990 elections in Bulgaria, I got offers from two parties of the parliament, but I did not accept the proposal. I met my late husband in 1992 and got married a year later. I live in Turkey since I got married, and I have never regretted my decision.”


In addition to her art work, Yıldız İbrahimova tries to transfer her knowledge to young people and gives lectures on jazz and vocal in universities. Ibrahimova says “Yes, I give lectures on jazz and vocal training in Middle East technical University (METU) and Hacettepe University. Young people are just wonderful. They learn quickly and do amazing things in a short time. We have concerts at the university every year. There is a jazz orchestra composed of students in METU. As far as I know there is no jazz orchestra even at conservatories in Turkey.”

She states that she relies on young people and she is glad to be with them and adds “The young population is the greatest wealth of Turkey and we have to appreciate this wealth. She also underlines that she feels sadness about the graduates’ preference about living abroad and warns as follows: “For instance, last year only one of four students stayed in Turkey. This is a loss for sure. Brain drain is the most important problem of a country. We need to ensure the necessary opportunities for youth to keep them in Turkey.”


Ibrahimova also works for children and released an album called ‘Childish Songs’. She told her meeting with her little audience in these sentences: “One day on TV, I came across a show where children imitated pop singers. When I reacted against as ‘These children should sing the most beautiful children’s songs, not those”, my husband Ali Dinçer made an offer to me saying “Why are you complaining? I think you should do a children’s song album.” Then I started to work on it. It was totally a family project; we sang songs with my mother, my niece and my daughter. This album was released in Turkey and Bulgaria and received two awards. The people I didn’t know thanked me, when they meet me or on the phone, and said that ‘My child has grew up with your songs.’ When my daughter Suna got into the studio, she was four and a half. With her, we gave concerts where we sang songs in the album and introduce the instruments we had used. As in every respect, we need to present the best qualified examples also in music. So, ‘Childish Songs’ has a very special place for me.”


Ibrahimova, adds jazz interpretations to the Rumeli folk songs, and said that she teaches the songs to her daughter, Alinda Suna Dinçer, who is also an artist, that she had listened from her mother. “my mother knows dozens of songs, folk songs, she has an extraordinary memory. I grew up with his Rumelia folk songs. In my beginning albums, I sang some of Rumelian folk songs in a different way, with a jazz interpretation. ” she adds.

Ibrahimova tells that her album “Rumelian Folk Songs From My Mother- Balkanatolia II” (“Annemden Rumeli Türküleri-Balkanatolia II”) totally composes of folk songs and her daughter sings the first quatrain of “Mavi Yelekli Yarim.” “Thus” she concludes, “We emphasize that we shouldn’t forget the fact that our great wealth of folk songs should be passed down.”


Ibrahimova shows a cappella performance in some of her concerts for one and a half or two hours and commented as “It is a difficult but so enjoyable and different experience.”  She told about the existence of this performance as follows:

“It goes back to my friend who is a trainer for rhythmic gymnastics and wins the championship of world and olympic games. One day “we have performed shows accompanied by piano so far. I want to try it with just sound. Could you do some improvisation for us?” she asked. They performed their show accompanied by the song we prepared for them and they became world champions. Later, I developed this work and gave a cappella concerts; it attracted great interest from the audience.”


Ibrahimova states that jazz music is an interpretation of sadness and it is the voice of all the women who are subjected to violence, harassed and raped today same as before and gives the message for International Women’s Day on 8th of March: “Despite women in Turkey won their rights equal with men in 1930’s and 1940’s, previously in European countries, I feel very anxious because of increasing number of femicides and rapes in recent years. As reflected in press, a woman is killed almost every day. It is time to ask that why? It is not true that a woman only could be a housewife. It is unacceptable to be imprisoned, while they can be more productive. Woman is the best organism who can produce. A woman brings boys and girls into existence without separating gender and is an individual who prepares them to the life. The science also claims that, after years, there will be a world where men won’t be necessary. A world without women cannot be imagined. Of course, there are many men educated and respectful to women. I heart and soul want women to be in every sector and they should be. There are women who proved themselves in various areas like science, art, education, medicine. There are women and will continue to be exist. Jazz is the voice of sadness. Jazz is also the voice of the all murdered, harassed and raped women. I will sing for all women on that day. Today I will continue to sing jazz for all women who are subjected to violence, as it was yesterday. As a woman, I congratulate the International Woman’s Day on 8th March of all women.”

Translation: Ekin Değirmenci

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