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.
Nedim Hazar Bora
Munich Turkish Film Days
Director, Director of Photography (1951 - 2008)