Dem Bu Dem

R. Hakan Talu – tanbur (long necked lute)
Salih Bilgin – ney (reed flute)
Cengiz Onural – kemenche (3-stringed violin)
Mithat Arisoy – bendir (frame drum) and vocals

Live in San Francisco, February 2002click to listen

Four of Turkey’s most outstanding Sufi musicians comprise Ensemble Dem Bu Dem. This ensemble is an off-spring of The Istanbul Music and Sema (Whirling Dervishes) Ensemble which was founded by R. Hakan Talu, Serhat Sarpel and Nadir Karnibüyükler. While members of Dem Bu Dem normally accompany Whirling Dervishes during Sema ceremonies, during this tour, they will be performing Mevlevi Sufi Music and from traditional repertoire, without the Whirlers.

The Mevlevi tradition of Sufism has for seven centuries integrated spiritual practice with artistic expression. And the primary purpose of Dem Bu Dem is to present this musical aspect with engaging performances that closely adhere to historical tradition. Concerts feature an immersion in the mystical music of Sufism as musicians perform examples of ilahis (hymns),
ayins (ceremonial music), taksims (improvisations), and zikr (chant).
Repertoire features many religious and non-religious pieces by important Turkish music composers and by Ottoman composers of the 16th, 17th and 18th century.

The musicians who make up the group have combined these traditional forms of music and ceremony for many years in concerts in Turkey and many cities of the world including over 70 performances in the United States. Their efforts have enabled Sufi culture and message to spread internationally, and after each performance they have received the appreciation of music lovers who have been touched by what they have witnessed.


R. Hakan TaluR. HAKAN TALU

Born in 1960 in Istanbul. He has graduated from the Istanbul Technical University Government Conservatorium Turkish Music Department and completed his masters degree in the Social Sciences at the same university. He has first participated in a whirling ceremony at the Galata Mevlevi Lodge in 1980. Since then he participated in many whirling ceremonies, Turkish Tasavvuf and Classical Music concerts as well assisting to album productions as a musician. He is the artistic director of the Istanbul Music and Sema Group as well as a musician. Hakan Talu has been co-director of the Mevlana Culture and Art Foundation, which has done four national tours as The Whirling Dervishes of Turkey.Salih Bilgin


Salih Bilgin, one of the foremost ney musicians of Turkey, plays for the Chamber Orchestra of Istanbul. Born in 1960 in Istanbul, he is also a graduate of Istanbul Technical University Government Conservatorium Turkish Music Department. His primary teacher is Niyazi Sayin, the most important name in ney instrument in 20th century. Bilgin played in many recordings of Turkish classical music and performed as a member of different ensembles throughout the world.


Cengiz Onural is an accomplished musician and one of Turkey’s leading film and TV music composers. Onural was one of the founders of Yeni Turku (New Song), a very popular band since 1980s in Turkey. He is one of the members of Incesaz Trio, a group that performs newly composed Turkish classical music. His compositions often accompany Turkish TV Series. He is an accomplished player of various stringed instruments.


Born in 1963 in Burdur. Graduated from Istanbul Technical University Government Conservatorium. He has been a member of various prestigious groups including Cultural Ministry’s Classical Musical Ensemble and TRT Istanbul Radio’s Turkish Classical Music Men's Chorus under the direction of Dr. Alaeddin Yavasca. Arisoy is a vocalist and he is an accomplished player of violin, bendir and saz.