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Mystic Love Songs from Turkey

Since the 11th Century, Turkish people from the deserts of Samarqand to the mountains of Anatolia recited poetry in search of the ultimate Truth and union with the Beloved. With their strong shamanistic background, my ancestors blended Islamic and many other local rituals of Anatolia, creating the wonderfully Turkish ways of Sufi mysticism like the Bektashis, Mevlevis and many others.

For me the most important aspect of these poets from the past thousand years is their strong anti-materialistic attitude. As true mystics, these poets and troubadours let go all the comfort and facilities offered to them by the Sultans, and kings of their times. Instead, they pursued a relentless struggle to reach the Truth. Such an anti-materialistic attitude is so much in line with my own world philosophy in these times of rampant selling out of everything sacred and profane that I had to put this wonderful poetry in music. That’s why this recording is especially special to me since most of the songs are my own compositions from the last two years. Due to the wonderful nature of this mystic folk poetry, composing was almost a natural progression of reading them out loud. You’ll hear the sounds of the Iraq war in these compositions since they are also the impressions of the war in the Middle East. Therefore I consider this CD as my very own child, coming from my deepest passion for beauty and ever-growing desire for a peaceful and love-filled universe.

Why “Gul: The Rose” as the title of this recording? “Gul” is the Rose, the symbol of unfolding in the mystic Sufi tradition. Life starts in a bud and it unfolds to a magnificent beauty with a long painful journey regardless of all those thorns surrounding the flower, like “cooking oneself” thru the difficulties of life. However, once the unfolding is completed, you get the most magnificent of all flowers. Rose is also the symbol of innocence in Turkish folk and court poetry, often depicting the beloved. I even catch myself calling a stranger “gulum”, “my rose” when I want to be sweet to the person. However, practically the title of this CD comes from a song I am singing in this very recording, a poem from the great 16th Century poet Ummi Sinan. He dreams of a world where everything is rose. The idea of a world made of roses resonated with me so well that as soon as I learned this particular song, the name of my next CD became “Gul: The Rose”. As a wonderful linguistic coincidence, Gul also means “smile” in Turkish language! So may universe be filled with Roses of all kinds!

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Samples from "GUL: The Rose"

1) Gul (128 kbps, 3' 03")
2) Bilmem Nideyim Askin Elinden (128 kbps, 3' 17")

Sheet Music
Please click on the signs next to the song names below, to see the sheet music of the songs.

Liner Notes of GUL: The Rose


1. Divan Sazi Solo

2. Ben Sanirdim: (Lyrics: Niyazi Misri, 17th Century, Music: Latif Bolat)
Ben sanirdim Alem icre bana hic yar kalmadi
Ben beni terkeyledim, gordum ki agyar kalmadi
“I used to think that there is no beloved for me in this whole world,
When I eliminated my own self, then I realized there is no stranger left”

3. Ramadan Ilahisi: A song in praise of the Ramadan (Music/Lyrics: Kerim Dogru)
Ask ile Allah diyelim, tenden gecelim
Ol Mevlaya varalim, ask ile Hu diyelim
"Let's say Allah with love and let's give up our physical beings.
Let's arrive at his door and let's say "hu" with love."

4. Bilmem Nideyim Askin Elinden: (Lyrics: Yunus Emre, Music: Latif Bolat)
Bilmem nideyim askin elinden
Kande gideyim askin elinden
“I removed all the shame from my life
and I gave up my soul, for love!”

5. Donmek Ister Gonlum: (Lyrics: Niyazi Misri, Music: Latif Bolat)
Donmek ister gonlum cumle sivadan, donelim asiklar Mevla derdiyle
“My sould wants to give up all this worldly things,
let’s whirl lovers for the Beloved”.

6. Bu dunyanin Meseli: (Lyrics: Yunus Emre, 13th Century, Music: Latif Bolat)
Bu dunyanin meseli, bir ulu sara benzer.
Veli bizim omrumuz , bir tez bazara benzer.
“This life is just like a city where we just visit for a while and move on”.


7. Ey asikan, Ey Asikan: (Lyrics:Yunus Emre, Music: Latif Bolat)
Ey asikan ey asikan, ask mezheb-u dindir bana
“Oh friends, love is my sect and religion.”

8. Bize didar gerek, dunya gerekmez: (Lyrics: Yunus Emre, Music: Latif Bolat)
Badyalar Dolu Dolu icelim biz, biz esrik olmaziz, humar gerekmez.
“Let’s drink from our full glasses,
No drink will be able to make us drunk since we are already drunk with love”

9. Yalanci Dunyaya Konup Gocenler: (Lyrics: Yunus Emre, Music: Latif Bolat)
Yalanci dunyaya konup gocenler, ne soylerler ne bir haber verirler
“People come and depart from this world and
they never tell us where they go and what they do”.

10. Asik Olan Kisiler: (Yunus Emre, 13th century)
Asik Yunus sen dahi, incitme asiklari.
Asiklarin duasi, Kabul olagan olur.
“Oh Yunus, you never injure the feelings of lovers.
For lovers’ prayers are always accepted by the Beloved”.

11. Gul (Rose): (Ummi Sinan, 16th Century, Comp: Ahmet Hatipoglu )
Gul alirlar gul satarlar, gulden terazi tutarlar.
Gulu gul ile tartarlar, carsi pazari guldur gul.
“In the city of my dreams, the only thing they sell and buy is the rose.
The scale they use to measure these roses is also made of the rose”.


12. Taksim

13. Dinle Sozumu Sana Direm Ozge Edadir: (Yuruk Semai)
“Listen to me that I am telling you something very valuable:
The only thing a mystic needs is the love of the Beloved”.

14. Biz Elest Bezminde: (Lyrics: Ibrahim Hakki)
Arif Olan canlar nefsini bilir
Varligin terkeyler, hep hakki bulur
"The Gnostics know their true selves
They leave their beings and find the Truth"

15. Resul-i Mucteba Nesli: (Lyrics and Music: Neyzen Ali Riza Bey)
Riza babin gozet Pirin
Hakikat kil hemen seyrin
"Oh Riza, if you follow your masters footsteps,
You will make your dreams a reality"

16. Sordum Sari Cicege: (Yunus Emre, 13th Century)
Sordum sari cicege, annen baban var midir?
“I asked the yellow flower if she has a mother and a father;
She replied: My mother and father is the Earth.”

17. Seherde Meskanede: (Lyrics: Hasan Fehmi Efendi)
Yandim askin narina, Yok oldum dost varina
Fehmiyim dildarima, her nefes derim Allah.
“I got burned with the fire of love,
and I disappeared into the existence of the Beloved”

18. Poem: (Nesimi, 17th Century)


19. Hanbaginda Kurulmus Asiklarin Otagi: (Lyrics and Music: Hilmi Dedebaba)
Mahserde dahi sonmez, asiklarin ceragi
“The light of the lovers will shine even in the Judgment day!"

20. Hic Bulunmaz Akrani: (Lyrics and Music: Husnu)
Husnu terket tesbisin, hakka birak her isin
Dervisi ol dervisin Sultan Abdul Kadiri.
"Husnu, leave all these dualities in your life.
Let the Beloved show the way for your well being"

21. Allah Yolu Yektir Yek:
Allah yolu Nurludur
Hep bu yolda yuru dur
"The path to the Beloved is pure enlightment."

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