An Elegant Ritual [EPK]

EPK for the album entitled “An Elegant Ritual” – official release date July 16, 2021 on DÜNYA –

This trio album is modeled after the structure of a Sufi whirling (Mevlevi) dervish ritual (ayin), with influences from John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme”.

TEDx Talk

“Embracing an Uncomfortable Globalism”

I grew up in Turkey playing classical and Jazz piano while championing Western ideals. However, all of what I thought to be true was defeated by a simple Turkish folk song 7 years after my arrival in the US, which sparked a curiosity that resulted in a decade long period of internalization of Turkish music, history and culture. From this decade, I feel that I came out as a composer who can ‘speak’ multiple musical languages by not reducing or standardizing but fully honoring them.

Introducing Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol & Whatsnext

PosterDUSUKI am excited to announce a short tour I will be doing with my unique jazz band which pairs Turkish instruments such as zurna (double reed wind), ney (end-blown flute), kös (large kettledrums) and nekkare (small kettledrums) with a 6-horn jazz combo to perform my film inspired and innovative Turkish music influenced compositions in order to promote my new album.

Locations, Dates/Times, Prices
Wednesday, October 1, 8:00 PM – Scullers, Cambridge, MA, $25, purchase tickets

Thursday, October 2, 7:30 PM – RISD Auditorium, Providence, RI, $20, on the day of the concert $25, purchase tickets

Friday, October 3, 8:00 PM – Le Poisson Rouge, New York, NY, seated $25/standing $20,purchase tickets

The band is featuring,

Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol, piano, keyboards, continuum, zurna, ney, voice
Jerry Sabatini, trumpet, flugel horn
Jeff Claassen, trumpet flugel horn
Mark Zaleski, alto sax., clarinet
Aaron Henry, tenor & soprano sax.
Chris Gagne, trombone
Jared Sims, baritone sax., bass clarinet
Utar Artun, piano, keyboards
Phil Sargent, electric guitar
Fernando Huergo, electric bass
Bertram Lehmann, drums
George Lernis, kettledrums, frame drums, percussion


Whatsnext, my new large jazz ensemble album, is now available for purchase through Bandcamp and iTunes or you can stream it through Spotify.

Bandcamp CD:







CD Release Concerts

Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol will present his modern jazz compositions for big band as well as compositions specifically influenced by Turkish music for the jazz combo from his new album.

Locations, Dates/Times, Prices
Thurs., April 3, 7:30 PM – Regattabar, Cambridge, MA, $20, buy tickets here
Sat., April 5, 9:30 PM – Drom, New York, NY, $10/adv. $15, buy tickets here

Dün gece seyrim içinde / Last night I dreamt of…: Turkish Songs of Protest


Dün gece seyrim içinde / Last night I dreamt of…:
Turkish Songs of Protest

Five musicians of the Dünya Ensemble on vocals and a wide range of traditional instruments offer a lively and varied program: classical compositions of the palace, blunt women’s complaints from the countryside, songs which mingle the religious and the secular, songs which express longing and intimacy across ethnic and religious boundaries, “blasphemous” (and therefore politically incendiary) songs by heterodox Sufis, songs of unconventional love, Turkish songs notated and sung in Greek, and Jewish devotional texts set to Turkish Sufi melodies. This is public and private music, for entertainment, contemplation and devotion, expressing explicit border-crossings that defy official or societal norms: “protest music”, in the largest sense.

Locations, Dates/Times, Price
Thursday, March 27, 8:00 PM – New England Conservatory, Jordan Hall, FREE
Sunday, March 30, 7:30 PM – Boston College, Gasson Hall, FREE
Tuesday, April 1, 8:00 PM – Tufts University, Distler Hall, FREE

Kickstarter Campaign Donors

$5 – 20 
Erkan Altan
Deniz-Ozan Jorge
Bülent Bilir
Michael Winograd

$25 – 30
Can Tiryaki
Christiane Karam
Murat Arslan
Steve Gruverman
Mehmet Furkan Burak
Marc Wolman
Aaron Henry
Emily Lau
Soner Tünay
Elka Raizel

Jesse Sage
Laura Duffy
Greta Haug-Hryciw
Nihat Tokdil
Grammenos Karanos
Umberto Bernal
Ozan Erat
Serkan Çil
Scott Manson
Tom Zajac
Alice Johnson
Csaba Szabo
Güven Güzeldere
Gonca Sönmez-Poole
Sıla Çevikce Shaman
Sibel Benmayor
Eren Özgül

Bülent Bıyıkoğlu
Zeren Earls
Sumru Erkut
Cemal Ekin
Alirıza Ganioğlu
Phaedon Sinis
Ayçe Yeşilaltay
Robert Labaree
Ethem Mutlu Sözer
Tülin Ay
Alpdoğan Kantarcı
Kareem Roustom
Cem Mutlu
Derya Özyurt
Harry Parsekian

Melanie Berkmen
Melek Pulatkonak
Şükrü Demirayak
Görkem Kantar Arsoy
Jeff Baum

Usama Elsehrawey

updates on upcoming concerts

As a result of the current events which started at Istanbul’s Gezi Park our ensemble and Erkan Oğur do not feel that it will be appropriate to perform music in a festival environment. We are in the process of postponing our concerts at Bursa Festival and Istanbul Jazz Festival to later dates.

Mehmet Ali