Sudan Sebepler

Hilde, Engin Arslan & İlkin Deniz

Hilde with Engin Arslan and Ilkin Deniz
Hilde with Engin Arslan and Ilkin Deniz (foto Özgür Biber)

Naive interpretations of Turkish and Mediterranean melodies

‘Sudan Sebepler’ (litt. ‘For the sake of water’, fig. ‘Pretext’) is a trio that was born after three enthusiastic musicians got together and jammed at the Turkish Aegean coast. Hilde De Clercq (oriental percussion, voice), Engin Arslan (lavta and yaylı tanbur) and İlkin Deniz (bass) have different musical backgrounds, but they share their love for Turkish traditional music and a broad view of the world.

The trio is bringing a mixture of traditional Turkish songs and their own compositions based on the traditions of Turkey, the Balkans, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, but they break with the traditional idiom in their performance in order to give their very personal interpretation. Going from intimate to dancy songs, melancholic melodies from the east to spicy rhythmic songs from Thrace, the repertoire contains all the ingredients to bring the listener smoothly in a mediteranean mood. Spiced up with some vivid improvisations, the music makes you dream away towards the east.

The Musicians

Engin Arslan

Engin Arslan

is a virtuoso player of diverse string instruments of the Turkish music tradition, like bağlama, tanbur, yaylı tanbur and lavta, who worked together with many Turkish artists. In these recordings, he plays lavta and yaylı tanbur.

In this trio, he’s mostly playing lavta (fretted Mediterranean lute) and yaylı tanbur (long necked lute played with a bow). Engin Arslan was born in Ankara, Turkey. He studied music at İTÜ, the Technical conservatory of Istanbul. He’s currently working with different bands and musicians. Besides that, he’s creating a lot of music for documentaries, films and television series.


The first album of the trio, ‘Sudan Sebepler’, was released in the summer of 2016 by the prestigious record label Kalan in Turkey. The theme of the cd is water. The naïve melody of the children’s song ‘Fış Fış Kayıkçı’ (Fshsh fshshs, goes the rower)leads the listener through some traditional melodies from Turkey, and some original compositions. The cd is dedicated to the tens of thousands of refugees who crossed the dark seas.

CD Sudan Sebepler

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Improvising with and around the Turkish music tradition is alternated with the playing of new themes in this recording. Many songs had ‘water’ passing through the jam session’s songs, and this became the line that was held on to for the recording repertoire. In the songs, water appears in different shapes: water in the brook, the river, the sea, as rain, tears, the biotope of fishes and is associated with elusiveness, longing, nostalgia, hope, sadness, comfort, but also with fear.

The two instrumental compositions are: Sudan Sebepler’(Litt. For the sake of water, Fig. Pretext) by Engin Arslan and ‘Boğaz’daki Sandal’ (the boat on the Bosphorus) by Hilde. For ‘Halime Kız’, İsmail Altunsaray, specialist in the bozlak style of the Kırşehir region, is playing his bağlama as a guest musician. Hilde wrote and composed Druppel’ (Drop) in Dutch, her native language.

The album is available on iTunes, and in all big record stores in Turkey.

Via Idefix you can buy the album in Europe.

Sudan Sebepler on Spotify.


"Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe,
wings to the mind, flight to the imagination,
and charm and gaiety to life and to everything."
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