A groundbreaking album uniting two friends, one Greek and one Turkish, in a shared love of Anatolian music. Emotionally charged and artfully blended versions of Turkish and Greek folk songs, zeybeks (zembekikos), and sirtos.

Derya Türkan & Sokratis Sinopoulos

Letter from Istanbul

Genre: Turkish Traditional.


1. Ussak Şarkı 6:00
2. Saba Oyun Havasi (Udi Yorgo Bacanos) 6:06
3. Rast Kasap Arabaci 3:18
4. Acemkürdi Taksim on Kanun 1:59
5. Acemkürdi Şarkı 5:58
6. Midilli Zeybek 5:30
7. Yagcilar Zeybek 5:31
8. Hicaz Taksim 1:49
9. Hicaz Karsilama 4:04
10. Rast Taksim on Kanun 1:20
11. Rast Zeybek (Tanburi Cemil Bey) 4:11
12. Bulut Gelir 4:13
  • Derya Türkan — kemençe (left channel)
  • Sokratis Sinopoulos — kemençe (right channel) & lavta
  • Uğur Işık — violoncello
  • Taner Sayacıoğlu — kanun
  • Serdar Bişiren — daire
  • Oktay Özerdem — bendir

Producer: Ateş M.Temeltaş
Recorded in November 1999 in Istanbul
Mixed in April 2000 at Studio Aria, Nişantaşı, Istanbul
Mastered by Bora Ebeoğlu, May 2000 Bebek, Istanbul
Graphic Design: Şiir Özbilge

Two Friends

Yes, the title implies a fable; but what I'm going to write you about is a true and pure story of friendship, a story regarding this album in your hands which has been created by Derya and Sokratis without fanfare. 

History and art have described two aspects of humanity for centuries. While history has been shedding light on wars, empires and treaties, art has chosen love, passion and collaboration as its subject. Music has conveyed diverse emotions to our mind, transcending mere word and color. Therefore, I want to believe that art and music have more strength and staying power than the concept of nation and state which has made a name for itself over the last five centuries through wars, assimilation and cultural cleansing maneuvers and seems to give shape and direction to our life today. 

Based on the fact that all musical traditions of the world are related is the need to acknowledge that a wide variety of musical traditions developing in and around Anatolia for centuries are irrefutably interrelated, drawn from the same ferment. Here you have an album that conveys this spontaneous immediacy via superior interpretation, a work shaped by painstaking effort of two friends. Theirs is not the kind of friendship brought about by earthquakes, not the kind of duet marred by fads or stench of money. Their friendship has developed and strengthened over many years in private homes, during nights of playing and singing together. It is a give-and-take that is not exclusively musical, but is also nurtured by their well-tempered personalities. 

This album draws on a carefully compiled repertoire comprised of traditional Turkish and Greek folk tunes, zeybeks, sirtos and compositions by individual artists (Nikriz Zeybek, Tanburi Cemil). Unpretentious and passionate songs embellished with emotionally charged improvisations present the sophisticated melding of tradition and playing of a professional caliber, the dynamic creativity of two master musicians. 

Sokratis is hailing from Greece, Derya is hailing from Turkey. Yielding to the gravity of Anatolian music, they have found each other; now they introduce to us this opus infused with their passion. 

Efharisto Derya! Teşekkürler Sokratis! Thank you Anatolia! 

Muammer Ketencoğlu
November 27, 2000

Derya Türkan

Derya Türkan is a young master of classical Turkish kemenche. He plays improvisational as well as the Ottoman classical music repertoire. 

Türkan was born in Istanbul, Turkey in 1973. He grew up in a musical family and his first music lessons were with the well known Turkish cellist Firat Kiziltug. Türkan attended and graduated from the Turkish Music Conservatory Instruments Education Department of the Istanbul Technical University, where he studied with Ihsan Özgen, an internationally recognized Turkish musician. In 1990, Türkan was invited to perform as a guest musician by the Turkish Cultural Ministry's Istanbul National Turkish Music Ensemble, directed by Necdet Yasar.

In 1993 Türkan worked as a guest musician at Turkish Radio Television, Istanbul Radio division for one year, where he earned outstanding praise. He worked alongside such master musicians as Alâeddin Yavasça, Bekir Sidki Sezgin, Niyazi Sayin, and Erol Deran. During this time, he performed at many concerts both nationally and internationally with well known groups such as the Necdet Yasar Ensemble, and Ihsan Özgen`s Anatolia.

Türkan has given many concerts in the United States, France, Germany, Finland, Italy, Spain, Holland, Belgium, Poland, Greece, Israel and many other countries in addition to his native Turkey. 

In 1996, Türkan performed with Turkish ney player Kudsi Ergüner at Yehudi Menuhin`s 80th birthday celebration concerts, organized by French President Jacques Chirac, as an invited musician. Türkan also has toured and recorded with Kudsi Ergüner's various ensembles. Some of these projects include Ottoman Drums, Ottamania, IslamBlues and La Banda Allaturka. 

Like his teacher Ihsan Özgen, Türkan aims to follow and develop the teachings of one of this century's genius musicians, Tanburi Cemil Bey, and today continues to work on different projects in his music career with this goal in mind. Ahenk - Volume 1Ahenk - Volume 2 and Letter from Istanbul are consequent steps towards Türkan's goal.

Sokratis Sinopoulos

Sokratis Sinopoulos was born in 1974 in Athens; Greece. His childhood was a very musical one, as he studied Western European classical music on guitar. He also sang Byzantine and Greek folk music with the I. Tsiamoulis Childrens' Chorus, with whom he toured Europe and recorded two albums. At the age of 14,he met Ross Daly and began his studies of kemençe, joining Daly's Labyrinth Ensemble a year later. Sinopoulos was a member of Labyrinth for six years, performing concerts and recording on many albums. 

Sinopoulos was an active musician outside his involvement with Labyrinth, working with several groups on Greek demotika and rebetika, Byzantine and Turkish classical music, and western jazz. He also composed scores for theater plays and modern dance. In 1997,he completed his Musicology studies at a university in Athens, and began doctoral studies. He is currently also an active member of several musical groups in Greece.

One of the top 10 albums of 2002. Chris Williams, Writer, fRoots