Photo: Bill T Miller

Ajda the Turkish Queen is a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist living and working in the Boston area. Originally from Houston, Texas, she has been performing publicly since 1997. Her current focus lies with her band Black Fortress of Opium, and in solo endeavors. She has also contributed to soundtracks for various independent films.

Whether performing solo or as part of a band or ensemble, Ajda has appeared on bills with acts such as Soriah, Franz Ferdinand, Serena Maneesh, The Fiery Furnaces, Andrew Bird, Nicki Jaine, Gary Lucas/Gods & Monsters, Bill Laswell, John Zorn, Paul Wallfisch, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, The Dresden Dolls, His Name is Alive, Beat Circus, Alec K.Redfearn/The Eyesores, Barbez, Dame Darcy, Marianne Dissard, and more.

She has been a collaborator in bands of various styles ranging from goth rock to cabaret to psychedelic pop. She has performed extensively in a live setting, as well as on record. Ajda has recorded with artists and composers of diverse styles, from electronic music and pop to modern classical.

Ajda began her lifelong love affair with music in elementary school when she joined the choir and performed as Judy Garland singing a love song to Clark Gable. In middle school, she changed directions and joined the school band playing flute - something she would pursue all the way through college and beyond. Sometime during high school Ajda began to experiment with playing guitar and banjo.

Her unconventional approach to writing and playing music led Ajda to experimental improvisation and a desire to collect numerous instruments that would afford her an arsenal of sounds. Many of her instruments were gifts, or somehow randomly appeared in her life.

Ajda's serious foray into vocal performance began in 2002 through her involvement with the independent film Neovoxer, for which she provided vocals during a live accompaniment of the film's screening. This momentous event helped her to realize a true calling. For her, vocalizing serves as a very direct method of expression - straight from the soul. She has been inspired by the vocals of such artists as Natacha Atlas, Elizabeth Fraser, Anna Homler, Nico, Ute Lemper, Siouxsie Sioux, Bliss Blood, Kristin Hersh, as well as the lonesome voices of Turkish muezzins.

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