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A Voyage With Mercan Dede

He makes up his hair and wears fancy earrings. Mercan Dede (Arkın Ilıcalı) from Bursa is not the normal Neyzen, meaning Ney player. He explains to students in Bursa about how he puts ney music and electronics together with the words of the great Sufi Djalalladin Rumi Mevlana: “when your cross-eyed glance becomes one, then you will see that things which might at first contradict each other actually come together.” According to Mercan Dede, the Dj table, the music instrument, the ney are means. What counts is how the listener conceives the music. 

Nedim Hazar and his team pursued Mercan Dede for six months in Istanbul, during a tour in various towns of Turkey and at work together with other Turkish artists like Sabahat Akkiraz, Fazıl Say and Beyhan Murphy.

Mercan Dede began his musical voyage by buying a plastic reed with which he tried to imitate the ney. He migrated to Canada, where he studied ethnomusicology. He jobbed there at first as a waiter in a club. At some stage he was promoted to being a DJ there. 

His career has lead him to become one of the most important figures in contemporary Turkish music.


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