“Bell Lungs” is the moniker of Scottish-Turkish vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and composer Ceylan Hay. An over-enthusiastic instrument collector, and passionate community musician, Ceylan is a keen facilitator of workshops on free improvisation, songwriting, interdisciplinary practice, multi-sensory immersion, analogue music technology, and making music with found objects. Experienced in working with non verbal communicators and other people with additional support needs, children, young people, adults, asylum seekers & refugees, care home residents, and psychiatric, dementia and stroke inpatients, she has led workshops for a number of notable arts charities, museums, schools, care homes, music festivals and youth projects across the UK.
Frequently touring solo over the past few years, Ceylan has performed in Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Spain, Sweden, UK and USA. Troubled by the general state of the world and dogged by a desire to minimise any negative impact she might have on the toxicology of its future, 90% of her touring has taken place by rail, bus and ferry, and the sight of Ceylan, laden with instruments and dragging a massive suitcase full of pedals off a cross-country train has been a shock for some concert promoters…
Ceylan’s music takes a freewheeling, magpie attitude to free improvisation, psychedelia, jazz, noise, drone, ambient and folk, creating subtly shifting sound worlds drawing on natural cycles, environmental disaster and the microcosmic aspects of relationships. Harmonies are an integral part of Ceylan’s sound, and her main instruments are guitar and violin, which she uses to build up lushly, textured layers and loops.
Her kaleidoscopic vocals were deemed “elemental” by cult arts critic David Keenan of The Wire, and her second EP “Wolves Behind Us” was described as “genius…or as pretty damned close to that elusive quality that you can get without having yet passed the test of time…” by Terrascope.
Ceylan also composes for theatre, film, animation, spoken word, performance art and dance, working with the likes of poet Lisa Fannen (“Blood Test“, 2020), microbiologist Dr Clare Taylor (“Listeria Hysteria”, 2017), multicultural theatre company Anahat Theatre (“Instructions on How to Cry”, Edinburgh International Science Festival 2019), animator Simón Ortega (“Hablik”, 2018), poet Juana Adcock (“Serpent Dialogues” Edinburgh Art Festival 2017), dancer Suzi Cunningham (“Find and Seek”, part of UNKENNY, place+platform/Edinburgh Art Festival 2019), performance artist Bobby Sayers (“The Faceless Enemy of Me, Sits in the Squares”, Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2018), film-maker Lydia Howe (“Windows to my Words”, 2019), poet Katy Hastie (“Frost Pocket”, part of Victoria Crowe: 50 Years of Painting, ARTLATE/Edinburgh Art Festival 2019), and German dance company Tatraum Projekte Schmidt (“KLAR. oder die performativ-poetische suche nach schrodingers katze” Edinburgh 2019 and “ERSTENS.) oder dimensionen der gemengelage”, Dusseldorf 2019 and Cologne 2020). In March 2020, Ceylan performed new live scores to “The Seashell and the Clergyman” in Edinburgh, and to selected shorts by Oskar Fischingar in London.
She has appeared on BBC Radio 6 (Stuart Maconie’s Freakzone, 2018), BBC Radio 3 (Late Junction, 2017) and BBC Radio 4 (“Master Rock”, 2015), and performed at Supernormal (2019), Copenhagen Jazz Festival (2019), Camp Elsewhere (2019), Doune the Rabbit Hole (2019), Manchester Folk Horror Festival (2019), Fort Process (2018), Swansea International Festival (2018) and Edinburgh Art Festival (2017). She was selected as a Musician-in-Residence for “Easterhouse Conversations” at Platform arts centre in January 2020, a project unfortunately curtailed by one of those pesky global pandemics that happen every so often.
Although she has managed to record and release a tiny clutch of releases, Ceylan far prefers to perform live, and really misses travelling around, although she has replaced venues with cats now. So maybe it’s alright after all.
Ceylan plays acoustic violin, assorted sound-makers and vocalises in Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra.
“Eerie doesn’t even begin to cover the troubling, gravity-defying improvisations of Bell Lungs. Like a banshee spirit raiding some crypto-zoological toy box, she sounds like a madness-inducing glimpse of some impossible plane of reality.” – God Is In The TV
“…genius this may be, or as pretty damned close to that elusive quality that you can get without yet having passed the test of time.” – Terrascope
“…like an incursion on an Irish wake by someone fixing bad transistor radio wiring.” – Nightshift
…a musician who takes the less worn road…” – The Herald
“a captivating and meditative experience that certainly stands out from the pack” – Small Music Scene
“disarming and demurring… quite something” – The Sunday Experience
“…her vocal delivery steps between ornamental trad-folk crenellations, feathery ambient warbles and horrific screams. You can never quite tell whether she’s going to lull you or scare you, but you know she cares about what she’s ferrying across to you.” – Misfit City
“…a deeply lovely drift through the cosmos, vaulting vocal incantations, bringing an urgency and focus that steers into the beyond.” – Stewart Smith, The List
“…vocal harmonies scattering a dreamlike layer over a built soundscape of darker sounds, weaving many different elements into her tracks” – The Fountain
“a truly remarkable voice, like cut quartz” – Rave Child
“sweetly off-kilter and bucolic” – Exeunt Magazine