Extraordinary mix of classical sufi repertoire and hypnotic pop music

A Night Under Eastern Skies

Al-Kindi, Mercan Dede, Niyaz

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The mystical ways of sufism will descend on Paradiso, in A Night Under Eastern Skies, transporting you from classical Arab Sufi music to its 21st century incarnation. The concert is opened by the Al-Kindi ensemble from Istanbul, who return to the source of the classical repertoire on traditional instruments. Then, the traditional music blends with the hypnotising, sufi-inspired pop music of Niyaz. Having had a number of hits in the charts, this will be their Dutch debut for which they will enter into an exciting partnership with the Turkish Sufi DJ Mercan Dede. Featuring the unmistakable voice of singer Azam Ali, Niyaz will bring their unique mix of poetry, sufi music, pop music and trance-like electronica to the stage. The concert is livened up by the whirling moves of a modern dervish. Mercan Dede will stay on after the concert for a DJ set taking us into the small hours of the night.



Al-Kindî is a prominent ensemble devoted to classical Arabic music. The ensemble was founded in 1983 by the French musician Julien Jâlal Eddine Weiss, who plays the qânun, an Arabic variant of the zither. The ensemble is formed according to the ‘takht sharqi’, the traditional oriental ensemble, with instruments such as the qânun, the ud (an oriental lute), the nay (reed flute) and the riqq (a percussion instrument that resembles a small tambourine). The ensemble interprets the traditional repertoire in such a way that all the separate instruments have their own prominent role, unlike older arrangements in which the vocals often dominated.

Mercan Dede was born in 1966 as Arkın Ilıcalı in Turkey. Alternately using various artist names including Mercan Dede, DJ Arkin Allen, Blueman, Poundmaker and five aliases that he keeps a secret, he has made a carreer for himself since 1998 as a composer, multi-instrumentalist, DJ and producer. He is also active as a visual artist. In his music, Dede combines traditional Turkish sounds with contemporary electronical music. Improvisation is an important element in all his projects. Dede works with a constantly shifting group of guest musicians, often local musicians from the countries that he performs in. He made music for various dance pieces, including Pina Bausch’s 2003 piece Nefés. He played an important role in a German documentary about sufi music en starred in the 2004 documentary Mercan Dede ile bir yolculuk about his life and music. Dede played at festivals such as the Montreux Jazz Festival, Global Fest in New York and the Dutch World Roots Festival. His discography currently counts over a hundred titles, including many of which he keeps it a secret that he made them, even to his family, because he believes that nothing should come between music and the listener – not even the musician himself.

A Night Under Eastern Skies Niyaz 3 Half Breed A Night Under Eastern Skies Ensemble Al Kiindi 7 Half Breed

Iranian trio Niyaz brings the medieval Sufi poetry to our present times, in a special sound that combines various influences and cultures. The ensemble was founded in 2004 by singer Azam Ali and multi-instrumentalist Loga Ramin Torkian, both born in Iran and living in Montreal, and American producer and remixer Carmen Rizzo. In their music the band connects Sufism with the traditional folk music of Iran and surrounding countries and the electronical music of the 20th and 21st century. Their eponymous debut album was released in 2005 and immediately went to number 1 in the sales charts of iTunes – a success that was matched by their two subsequent releases. The trio performed all over the world and their music was played on BBC, NPR and PRI radio stations and used in various American major films and television series, including True BloodNip/Tuck and Crossing Over. With its music Niyaz aims to create more awareness worldwide about the political and social situation in Iran and the harsh living conditions of both immigrants from their home country as well as the various ethnic minorities that try to remain there. The Huffington Post labeled the band ‘an evolutionary force in contemporary Middle Eastern music’.

A Night Under Eastern Skies Ensemble Al Kiindi 1 Breed


Al Kindi:
Dogan Dikmen, lead zang
Bekir Buyukbas, muezzin, lead zang
Ahmet Kaya, ney
Refik Kaya, rebab
Ozer Ozel, tembur ottoman
Gurkan Ozkan, tabla
Zya Tabassyan, bendir
Mercan Dede

This performance was made possible with support by