Bektashi Music of Anatolia—Ashik Songs

Part of the Matheson Trust Sacred Audio Collection

The traditional folk singer of Turkey and the Anatolian peninsula in general is called the ashiq, literally a “lover” (from Arabic ‘ashiq), because he seeks divine love and oneness through music and poetry, while giving up all worldly things for the love of God. Ashiks have a crucial role as the transmitters of not just Sufi Bektashi traditions but also many other ancient cultural treasures. They famously begin their spiritual gatherings (jem, or cem, from Arabic jam‘) with the cry: “Let there be love!” (ashk olsun!). We present two recordings extracted from these gatherings.

Meydan Saz

Click here to download – 2:22 (2MB)

Nefes-Kul Himmet Ve Virani

Click here to download – 4:09 (5.4MB)

Click here to read a brief introductory text, “Ceremonial music of the Bektashi ashiqs” by Ferhat Arslan & Oliver Gerlach.

For more details and recordings, follow this link to the Smithsonian World Music pages, or a similar UNESCO-Radio France collection. This article refers directly to the latter collection.

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