Heir to an ancestral musical culture, Ali Doğan Gönültaş is a Kurdish musician with a sublime voice. He was born in Kiğı, a small town in Eastern Anatolia, part of Bingöl, near the infamous Tunceli region (Dersim in Kurdish). Mountainous area and difficult to access, economically unimportant, historically unproductive, it is poorly populated and tourism plays no role. However, a myth surrounds this region and its culture : the name “Dersim”, banned by Turkish politicians, which has become a code word to designate a latent rebellion – also present in music. A large part of the population belongs to ‘Alevism’, an Islamic movement widespread in Anatolia, which is said to have its origins in the sacred mountain of Munsur, with a high point at almost 3,500 meters above sea level. Two different Kurdish languages are spoken there: Zazaki by most and Kurmanji by the minority. Turkmens and Armenians also lived in the area, many being associated to this place before the 1915 genocide.
Graduated from the Departments of Archeology as well as Radio-Television and Cinema from Kocaeli University on the Sea of Marmara, Ali Doğan Gönültaş began his professional career as a musician in 2015 with the independent band “Ze Tijê”. Founding member of the group, he has released two albums as a composer, arranger and performer and has collaborated on the soundtracks of films such as “My Own Life” (2014) and “Seng” (2021). As a composer, he took part in the project “The Voice of the City as an Example of Intangible Cultural Heritage (Diyarbakır)”. Since 2020, he has worked as a music editor for the tv show “Voices and Traces” of the Kurdish channel Can TV. As the moderator of the show, he features a variety of folk music styles and genres from Turkey.
From 2007 to 2017, he conducted researches on the musical heritage of Kiğı. The first result in 2018 was a series of solo concerts “Xo Bi Xo” with songs in Kurmanji, Turkish and his native language Zazaki. He continues this musical work in 2022 with the impressive album “Kiğı”, named after his hometown. He takes a personal look at his 150-year-old musical treasure, with pieces in the local languages: Kirmancki (Zazaki), Kurmanji and Kirdaski (both Kurdish dialects), Armenian and Turkish. In his concerts, he gives voice to cultures that risk falling into oblivion and takes the audience on a timeless journey through countless melodies where all the beauty of Eastern Anatolia vibrates.
Ali Doğan Gönültaş – vocals, tembur (lute), acoustic guitar
Firat Caklici – clarinet
Ali Kutlutürk – percussions, daf