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Album Review

"Su" is the Turkish word for "water," and water is the theme that unifies all of the tracks on this strange and deeply beautiful album. Featuring musical elements and guest musicians from India, Iran, the Balkans, Mediterranean Europe and Britain, as well as Mercan Dede's native Turkey, Su draws on Sufi mysticism for its symbolism and on just about everything else in the world for its melodies and beats. That's not to say that the sound is cluttered or frenetic, though — there is a deep calm to this music, a consistent beauty that sometimes gives way to eeriness even as jaunty didgeridoos and jazzy breakbeats float in and out of the mix. "Ab-I Nâfi" offers some of the album's funkiest moments, with its thrumming string bass, dubwise production effects and rap interlude (courtesy of Turkish rapper Ceza). "Ab-I Zen" is similarly rhythmically compelling, though in a more laid-back, trip-hoppy way. On the more contemplative side are the beautiful "Ab-I Beka" (which features the wonderful Indian singer Susheela Raman) and "Ab-I Çesm," which is based on a traditional melody from the Kerkuk region of Iraq. This is an album that amply rewards repeated listening.

Biography

Born: 1966 in Bursa, Turkey

Genre: World

Years Active: '00s

Guided by Sufi principles of balance and a love for both ancient and modern musics, Mercan Dede is among Turkey's most prominent musical exports. Respected by electronic and traditional music communities alike, Dede has a singular presence in world music. Having released over 100 singles under nine different names (Arkin Allen, Poundmaker, Blueman, etc.), Dede boasts an impressive discography, covering enormous stylistic territory. Born in a poor Turkish village in the '70s, Mercan was steeped in...
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Su, Mercan Dede
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