Derya Takkali

On one snowy November night in 1970, I was born in a small village Gaziler in Central Anatolia.  My grandfather gave me the name Derya – deep and wise as the ocean – for that is what he wished for me.  Already in the womb of my mother Hikmet, I was fed with the sounds of Turkish folk music.  In her youth, she was a sought-after choir leader with which she accompanied the female folklore groups with the self-made frame drum “Tef”.

Until the age of nine, I was raised along with my sisters Meral and Rukiye by my grandparents and aunts. While my parents worked in Germany, they took care of us.

When I was 5 years old, my grandfather “Süleyman Dede” constructed a Baglama with primitive tools, with which I had my early musical experience.  He sang along and supported me.  He had a field day, as the instrument slipped from my lap while playing, probably it was too big for me at the time. 

Wonderful moments of reminiscence stayed with me, how I sat on his lap and listened to the music of the choir “Yurttan Sesler Korosu” on the radio.  His biggest joy was to smoke his hand-rolled cigarettes in the meanwhile.  With his gentle and deep voice, he sang along and encouraged me to do the same.

Once in a while, “Asik” came to the village and performed folksongs on Baglama.   These minnesingers of Turkey acted as messengers and summoners of news, and traveled from village to village back then as reconnaissance and also stayed with us for a while from time to time.

Often the neighborhood children came to us to play.  We always surprised them with new ideas.  Once we built a sort of a stage out of oil canisters and celebrated a concert on it.  I took over the role as an instrumentalist and Rukiye as a moderator.  A piece of wood served as a microphone, and in comparison, I already had a “real instrument”.   Meral was the singer and the other children were the audience.  Amongst all the children, she had the prettiest voice and therefore our grandfather gave her the nickname “nightingale”.  “Come to me and sing me a song” said the grandfather to her often.

After a long and difficult illness the “great Süleyman”, as he was known in the village, passed away.    I was at the time 7 years old.  I learned a lot of reading and writing from him.  During his almost 3 years of serving in the army, he had himself well educated.  In his youth, there were no schools in the village.   He was also the first to bring newspaper to the community.  For many, he was the source of wisdom and knowledge.

My father Bahtiyar went away to find work.  In this period, many men left the village.  As a mason and as a tiler, he traveled many cities across Turkey.  When he arrived in Izmir, he was fascinated by the Baglama at a show window in front of a music shop.  He began to save money for the instrument.  However, it remained a dream, for his family waited for the hard earned money.  To calm his yearning, he wrote romantic poems to our mother which he drizzled perfume on.

Beginning of the 1960’s, also our parents followed the foreign worker caravan to Germany.  In 1979, we followed our parents.  Finally, the family was reunited in Berlin.

On the return journey of our first trip to home country “Anavatan” in 1981, my father gave me a Baglama, with which he himself began to take lessons on.  I cherish this very instrument to this day like a precious treasure.  He fostered us three children with all he could.

Although he couldn’t fulfill his dream, he wrote poetry instead like nobody else in his generation.  Over the years he accumulated over 500 works.  Many of these poems form the basis for my compositions.

After graduating a music school in Berlin, I experimented with new possibilities with my musician friends, how I can utilize the traditional Turkish roots to open the European listeners’ ears.

I came upon Flamenco music by coincident, which I associated many parallels to my music.  For example with the structure of compositions, introductions, free improvisation with the voice, as well as the guitar having many similarities with the singing of the Turkish folk music and the way the Baglama was played.  After attending a Flamenco concert in the beginning of the 90’s, I was totally electrified by the music.   I began at once, to listen to all the recordings I can get my hands on.  Shortly after, I began rehearsing with a prominent flamenco guitarist in Berlin, a collaboration which led to releasing of my first recording “Ayrilik” in 1997.  This album consists of melodious Anatolian-Andalusian mix of styles. Ever since, there’s a touch of Andalusia in almost all of my compositions.

The affinity to great maestros of guitar like Paco de Lucia, Tomatito, Vicente Amigo, Geraldo Nuñez and the famous singer Camarón de la Isla to name a few, have always inspired my musical development.   I see this interplay of musical styles as an important cultural contribution to understanding among nations, and as a result of my biography, I naturally cherish this to my heart.

Derya Takkali


Past Concerts

May 05. 2018 - Tag der offenen Ateliers - Milow-Bahnitz


World Music alla Turca

Aşık “the loving ones” are the traveling singers of Anatolia.  With the sounds of long-neck-lute “Baglama”, the traditional folks bard sings the beauty of nature or revels in lovestruck poems toward the longing of the connectedness with the higher form.

The musician Derya Takkali follows the tradition of the sung poetry further and carries it to today’s time.

Derya connect the various music genres with the use of vast sensitivities in order to create “World Music alla Turca” rooted in the Anatolian tradition.

Kundalini Yoga with Bibi Nanaki Kaur

Derya Takkali accompanies the yoga training and meditation with his long-neck-lute, the Bağlama. Thanks to his great ability for empathy as well as many years of experience as a yoga practitioner, he is able to well-place himself in the practices and especially in the minds of the participants.  These empathies come to expression through his music in a very moving manner.  The participants feel well accompanied and supported with the music.  They can often endure challenging exercises and feel motivated throughout.

For us as seminar coaches, it is very helpful and important that the yoga practice groups receive a whole new level of quality and stay in rhythm than the music from the CDs, thanks to Derya’s musical accompaniment performed live.  That way an energetic effect of the yoga series and meditation in the collective field can be intensified.  Through his empathizing, sensitive and loving way, Derya gains the trust of the participants, as well as them feeling held and able to open themselves in the practices.

The collaboration with Derya is an enrichment to us as participants.  We are grateful for Derya for his collaboration and looking forward to further seminars with his wonderful music, which we no longer can do without.

Bibi Nanaki Kaur

Baglama DVD

The German-Turkish music producer Derya Takkali, also a Baglama performer, visited the instrument luthier Ismail Görer at his workshop in Burhaniya, a small town in the Aegean coasts of Turkey, in the summer of 2013 in order to produce a documentary film about making of the most famous stringed-instrument of the Anatolian region.

On behalf of the Ethnological Museum of Berlin, he documented the manufacturing of the Turkish long-neck-lute Bağlama. All in all the 9 days it takes to make an instrument is affectionately documented in all of its details in this DVD.

Ismail Görer belongs to the last “Usta” (the master) of Turkey, who constructs and processes the Baglama with all of its components in the traditional way.  In his workshop is also a storage of various timber stored for more than 30 years.  With an experience of more than 50 years and a great attention to the details, he works the plain timber to give life to it.

Although many elements (such as the body, neck and the main surface) are meanwhile made by various suppliers, the master goes the way of the “master-pupil-principle”, and avoids the industrial path all together, as he himself says reminds him of the “mass produced furnitures”.

Ismail Görer constructs the body of his Baglama instruments from each slats (yaprak), a technique which requires the highest precision as well as many years of experience.

The luthier comments each work phase in the film, thereby giving light to the background of each phase and shows each step in a transparent manner.

The author of this film, Derya Takkali, came to music through his father Bahtiya Takkali.  On a trip to Turkey in 1981, he gave Derya his first Baglama.  Coming from a traditional way of performing the instrument, he also found access to other music genres, which can be heard in his compositions.  He made his name through many recording productions and live performances also on international stages.  His last music project is a tribute of the meeting with the Taarab music on the east African island of Sansibar, where he performed at the “Sauti-za-Busara Festival” as the first German-Turkish musician.

Derya Takkali sees himself as a cultural ambassador, who goes his own way in order to preserve the music and the culture of Anatolia and carries it to today’s time.

A spontaneous meeting with the great master Ismail Görer 5 years ago sparked the idea to make this documentary film, which became a matter of the heart for him.

Berlin 2014



Derya Takkalı - Sen Nerdesin

Derya Takkalı - Ne olacak?

Derya Takkalı - Cemilenin gezdigi daglar meseli

Derya Takkalı - Haydar haydar

Derya & Kithara: Orient Connection Berlin-Zanzibar



Would you like to accompany your singing with the Baglama or play it in a band?  Together we will create a lesson-plan.

I happily pass on my knowledge and experience from the 36 years of performance with competence and passion.

In the 60mn. unit of a lesson, you will learn various playing and singing styles of traditional Turkish folk music from notation.

In the 3 levels of learning models you will learn first of all single-line melodies or rather songs on the Baglama, building on your own practice from the basis and therefore gather necessary experience with your own pace toward the third level.

As an advanced Baglama player, you will learn various Tavir (playing/singing technique from many regions of Turkey).  I can teach you all instruments of the Baglama family:

  • Kisa Sap (Baglama Düzen)
  • Uzun Sap (Tambura)
  • Divan (Bass Baglama)

Over the years, I developed my own learning style, which prioritizes sensibility, concentration and precision in the lesson.  On top of these points, I will teach you to play Baglama to produce clean tones, to hit the exact intonation with singing, and also to pronounce the lyrics correctly from the beginning on.  With all the learning challenges, fun and joy will not come short, for they represent the most important aspect of learning.

Our connection will be the passion for the music.  A respectful interaction within the framework of teacher-pupil connection is the criteria for learning from one another. 

Lending of an instrument can be arranged upon consultation.

I am looking forward to play music together!


Suedkurier: „World-Music With Charm“

Der Altmärker: „A Multi-Cultural Concert of a Top-Class“

Altmark-Zeitung: „As Deep as The Ocean“

Märkische Allgemeine:  „An Ocean of Understanding“

Süddeutsche Zeitung: „Finest of the Wolrd-Music“

Deutschland Radio: „Successful World-Music“

Berliner Morgenpost: „Derya Embalms the Soul“


Derya Takkali

Tel. +49 160 312 73 32