Selda Bağcan (IPA: [ˈselda ˈbaːdʒan]; born 1948) is a Turkish singer, guitarist and music producer. She was born to a veterinarian father of Macedonian descent and a teacher mother of Crimean descent in the western Turkish town of Muğla. The family relocated several times during her childhood, eventually settling in Ankara. Selda showed early interest in music, starting to play the guitar before she was 10 years old. At first she was singing English, Italian and Spanish songs she picked up on the radio, but during her years as a student at Ankara University's engineering physics department, she started to develop an interest in traditional Turkish folk music, inspired by early Anatolian rock singers like Cem Karaca, Barış Manço and Fikret Kızılok, as well as the folk singer Saniye Can. Her career as a professional musician started in 1971, during her final year at the university, with the encouragement and support of the Ankara-based music producer Erkan Özerman. The six singles she released that year, in which she interpreted traditional Turkish folk songs in a strong, emotional voice, accompanied by a simple acoustic guitar or bağlama, carried her to national fame. In 1972, she was selected by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to represent Turkey in the international Golden Orpheus song contest. She released twelve more singles and three LP records until 1980 and toured many cities in Turkey and western Europe. Many of her songs carried strong social criticism and solidarity with the poor and the working class, which made her especially popular among the left-wing activists and symphathisers during the politically polarized 1970s. She experimented with rock and roll and with synthetic and electronic sounds in her LPs, although her musical style remained firmly rooted in the folk tradition. After the 1980 Turkish coup d'état, she was persecuted by the military rulers due to her political songs, and was imprisoned three times between 1981 and 1984. Her passport was confiscated and held by the authorities until 1987, which, among other things, prevented her from attending the first WOMAD Reading festival in 1986. Partly thanks to pressure from WOMAD, her passport was returned in 1987 and she immediately started a European tour, giving concerts in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom in the same year. Since then, she has produced several albums and given concerts in many cities in Turkey and all over the world, and remains active in the Turkish musical scene. In late 2000, she was badly injured in a car accident on her way to a concert in Antakya, suffering several broken bones as well as contusions and cuts all over her body. She was able to make full recovery after a lengthy period of treatment. She currently lives in Istanbul and runs the music production company Majör Müzik Yapım. Her music has been sampled by several musicians outside of Turkey, including the band 2manydjs and hip-hop artists Mos Def and Oh No.
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