Miço Kendeş was born into a Kurdish family from the north of Syria, on the Turkish border (Kobane). He likes to say that he learned to sing at the same time as he learned to speak. He was receptive from a very young age to all forms of music, drinking in the tales, songs and sagas told and sung during evenings in the family home by a singer-storyteller – a bard, as he would have been called in another time and place. These stories – most of them sagas – forged his imagination.

His grandmother also sang never-ending tales of fantasy, teaching him everything that makes up the oral tradition of the Kurds of that region. Even at primary school, he seized on any opportunity to sing (singing contests, local festivals, etc.) in Arabic or Kurd, depending on the circumstances.

He took advantage of a move to Aleppo to attend school to study music in greater depth, mainly through private lessons with confirmed musicians. He took part in numerous kinds of musical activity, singing solo in a choir, holding musical gatherings at university and publishing articles on music.

While searching for authentic sources, he came across recordings of unknown or forgotten singers of traditional music. This enabled him to identify hundreds of traditional Kurdish songs, the rare available recordings of which were old and of poor quality.

Miço Kendeş puts his magnificent voice at the service of this popular tradition. His command of the vocal techniques peculiar to his native region allows him to sing in many diverse registers. He also sings his own compositions, settings of modern poems, some of which he writes himself. He has learned to play the tamboura and the bouzouki – two traditional, plucked instruments – and the lute. He is also familiar with Turkish and Persian music.

Having moved permanently to Switzerland in 1999, Miço Kendeş has given numerous concerts in Europe and in the United States, including at the following festivals: Nuits Atypiques (France), San Francisco World Music Festival (USA), Stimmen (Germany), Bidasoafolk (Spain), Notes d’Equinoxe (Switzerland), Autres Rivages (France), Aux heures d’été (France).

He is a regular guest on TV and radio programmes. A number of articles about him have appeared in the press.


Read articles published in Le Temps and Libération (in French) 

Listen to the broadcast of 22 August 2014 (in French)