A Voyage With Mercan Dede

Musician’s Portrait / 2004 / 45 Min.

Photo: Still from the film

“If a cross-eyed person could see well, she would realise that supposedly different things are one.“ Mercan Dede likes to quote this sentence by Jalaluddin Rumi Mevlana, the Sufi philosopher from the 13th century. Because, on the one hand, Rumi is his idol and on the other hand he brings opposites together in his music.

For Mercan Dede, the DJ-console and the oriental Nay flute are a unity. For he is a DJ and nay player. This combination was initially received with scepticism when he released his debut album in Turkey. The Nay is brought together with religion there, and obviously, the disco beat is not part of that. His appearance with his punk hairstyle and earrings was the icing on the cake. But things developed quite differently. Even religious circles appraised Mercan Dede.

Hazar’s film accompanies Mercan Dede on a concert tour over six months in 2004 in Anatolian cities like Diyarbakır, Malatya and Bursa. It also documents his collaboration with the Alevi folk singer Sabahat Akkiraz, the classical pianist Fazıl Say and the choreographer Beyhan Murphy.

Mercan Dede began his musical journey with a plastic pipe, which he bought from a scrap dealer and shaped into a flute. Later he went to Canada, studied music ethnology there and worked in a club where he became acquainted with electronic music. In his music, he reflects two worlds, the old and the new, the traditional and the modern, equally together. His name is Arkın Ilıcalı according to his ID, but this musician has many pseudonyms, including “Fusion Monster”.

The film “A Voyage with Mercan Dede”, available here only in Turkish, consists of the parts “Home”, “On the Way”, “Companions” and “The Love of the Way”. These are terms from the world of the Islamic Sufi order to which Mercan Dede belongs. With touching shots by cinematographer Bülent Arınlı, he tells his story of the feelings and thoughts of a modern Sufi musician.

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Written and
Directed By

Nedim Hazar

Director of Photography

Bülent Arınlı


Troya Medya




Munich Turkish Film Days

Perafest İstanbul 


Bülent Arınlı

Director, Director of Photography (1951 - 2008)

Bülent Arınlı was a maestro of the camera, a close friend of Nedim Hazar and shot several films featured on this website. Films like Burhan Öçal - A Homecoming, A Voyage with Mercan Dede, Özcan Deniz Without Make-up, Kushtepe Blues, Nearby and Far Away - The Island Burgaz.

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