Since her debut in 1975, Sezen Aksu has successfully invented a distinct realm of music that has dominated the musical landscape for four generations. Her voice “which rings true with each gorgeously stunning note” (Goran Bregovic), her poetry writing that captures the muddle of human emotions and her music composition that draws from Ottoman themes, chanson, folk music and pop have enabled her to be one of the most influential female singers of the Middle East. Sezen Aksu, compared by music experts to Orhan Pamuk, is a cultural icon who has used her art and fame to advocate human rights, especially women and LGBTQ+ individuals, and called for unity, peace and reconciliation with the past which placed her artistic and cultural influence in a unique place in the hearts of millions who were touched by her songs.
Ozan Aksoy: Musician with PhD in Ethnomusicology, and Lecturer at NYU-SPS with research interest in music, political activism and diaspora. His research has been published in Music and Anthropology, Ethnomusicology and other publications
Bengisu Önal: Recent Alumni of Berklee College of Music, Vocalist with years of work experience with Sezen Aksu and Jingle House Global co-owner
Serap Erincin: Multimedia artist and Assistant Professor of Performance Studies and Affiliate Faculty in Women's and Gender Studies Program at Louisiana State University
Moderator: Ali Adeeb AlNaemi, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, NYU