Cultural memory preserved in songs

Dengbêj singer Receb Rüstem has been contributing to the preservation of Kurdish culture and melodies for 40 years through her songs.

The Kurdish people tell in their songs of happiness and love, but also of oppression and massacres. These folk songs are part of the Dengbêj culture - a form of poetic chant, in this case also called Klam. A keeper of this tradition is Sebah Recep Rustem. The mother of six children is 55 years old and lives together with her physically disabled son in Ehris town in the canton of Shehba. She shares her three-room apartment with a family displaced from Afrin.

Sebah is known throughout the region for her beautiful voice. At the age of 15 she began to sing to flute and drum. At 17, she was married. Her painful life was quickly reflected in her songs.

Sebah got to know the Kurdish freedom struggle and her daughter Jiyan Rustem joined the guerrilla. She fell in the east of Kurdistan. Sebah lets her daughter live on in her songs. She emphasizes that she sings her songs now for all martyrs and for a free Kurdistan.