Poet and Musician
Leylâ Aslan is a Kurdish- and Turkish-speaking Bektashi poet and saz (lute) player. Leylâ grew up within a close-knit family of musicians where the saz, drums and tambur were as much a part of her daily activities as her cultural heritage.
Haji Bektash Veli was a humanist mystic, teacher and philosopher who lived in Anatolia in the thirteenth century. He gave rise to the Bektashi Sufi order and is considered as one of the principal teacher of the order. Like other teaching mystics, Bektash is remembered for his stand against hypocrisy and intolerance. The life and work of Bektash are central to Leylâ’s principles, evident in both her work as a poet-musician and as a community facilitator.
Talking about immigrants; it’s my turn and my time
I am Leylâ; night fall times, days rise other times
Bektashi: in body all
Kurdish one time
Turkish one time
Seventy-two languages and seventy-two beliefs
Leylâ moved to England, since becoming a refugee in 1985. Here she became active working with Kurdish and Turkish communities as well as other refugees. As part of this work, she has undertaken studies exploring the psychological impact of becoming a refugee.
Throughout her work Leylâ has used performance art and a humanist approach to develop user-led initiatives that encourage self and community healing. As well as her work with refugees she has also led workshops on mental and sexual health, substance abuse and domestic violence.
Leylâ is producing recordings of her hymns and poetry and also continue to work with community organisations.