“Bell Lungs” is the moniker of Scottish-Turkish vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, composer and community musician Ceylan Hay.
Frequently touring solo over the past few years by train, ferry and bus, Ceylan has performed in Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Spain, Sweden, UK and USA, including prestigious events such as Copenhagen Jazz Festival 2019, Supernormal 2019, Noise Garden 2019 and Festival of Endless Gratitude 2019.
Her music takes a freewheeling, magpie attitude to ambient, noise, free improvisation, psychedelia, jazz, minimalism and folk, creating subtly shifting sound worlds drawing on natural cycles, environmental disaster and the microcosmic aspects of relationships. Instrument collecting has been a passion of Ceylan’s for the past decade, and she plays a startling number of instruments, integrating vocals, strings, keys, tuned percussion and woodwinds into lushly textured layers and loops.
She has released 3 EPs in “Allsorts of Oddfellows” 2020, “Wolves Behind Us” 2019 (limited edition lathe cut – now sold out) and “Phosphodendrophobia” 2018 (limited edition cassette tape, sold out). Her kaleidoscopic vocals were deemed “elemental” by cult arts critic David Keenan of The Wire, and her 2nd EP 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 film-maker Julia Gay (“Be As Good As Your Word” #1-3, Argyll & Bute Rape Crisis, 2020), 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 / Cologne 2020).
Live scoring is increasingly a significant component of Ceylan’s practice. In March 2020, Ceylan performed new live scores to “The Seashell and the Clergyman” at Leith Theatre in Edinburgh, and to selected shorts by Oskar Fischingar in London. She is currently working on a new live score for 1922 silent film “Haxan”, in collaboration with ex-BBC foley artist Heather Andrews, in a new commission from Glasgow Artists Moving Image Studio. An excerpt was aired on Radiophrenia in November 2020.
She has appeared on BBC Radio 6 (Stuart Maconie’s Freakzone, 2018), BBC Radio 3 (Late Junction, 2017) and BBC Radio 4 (“Master Rock”, a radioplay by Maria Fusco, commissioned by Artangel, 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 commissioned by Cooper Gallery to perform a new composition “Helix Angle” at the 2018 Scoring Noise symposium, in response to their Bow Gamelan: Great Noises That Fill The Air exhibition. In January 2020, she was selected as a Musician-in-Residence alongside Richard Youngs for “Easterhouse Conversations” at Platform arts centre in Glasgow, a project unfortunately curtailed by a pesky global pandemic.
Ceylan is also 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.
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