Selda Bağcan is a legendary Turkish singer and political activist. Her first singles, about political struggle and the demands of the working class, sold over 1 million copies. Selda’s psychedelic interpretations of traditional Turkish folk music and her political views have lost Selda her passport and caused her to be repeatedly imprisoned during the 70s and 80s.

She became even more of an icon when the government censored her music and even briefly imprisoned her in the 1980s. Eventually, her soulful voice and catchy guitar riffs made it into music by Mos Def and Dr. Dre—though Bağcan says she never saw a dime from the samples. Whether or not the American artists were aware of her rebel politics, or simply loved her sound, is unclear.

As main guest of Le Guess Who? Festival 2014, Selda gave an equally joyous as emotional performance. St. Vincent and tUnE-yArDs, both admirers of the singer, performed before she took the stage. “The iconic Turkish protest singer convinced a room full of people, to dance, hug, and cry. If that’s not festival magic, I don’t know what is.” – MTV Iggy

Video courtesy of Timeline 

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