Mevlevi Dervishes »Istanbul Sema Grubu«

Music and dance of the whirling dervishes – Sufi Festival

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This concert has already taken place! 10 | 16 | 32 | 43 | 49
Istanbul Sema Grubu
Istanbul Sema Grubu © Marjon Broeks

The circular path leads to God

Men wearing wide, white skirts and hats like cones whirl left around in a circle without a break, their heads sligthly bent and their arms spread wide. This is the fascinating sight, unchanging in its peaceful majesty and regularity, that the whirling dervishes of the Mevlevi-Sufi order offer the onlooker. At the Elbphilharmonie festival »Lux aeterna« in early 2019, dervish dancers from Damascus delighted the audience in the Grand Hall. The Sufi Festival offers people a new chance to witness this meditative ritual when the Istanbul Sama Grubu of the Mevlevi, led by their sheikh, come to Hamburg, accompanied by a large body of of musicians and singers as well as seven dancers. In 2008 UNESCO declared the Mevlevi Sama ceremony part of the world’s intangible cultural heritage.

The Sama is a spiritual exercise combining instrumental music, singing, recitation and the tradition dervish dance dhikr, which has its origin in the 13th century mystic Dschelaleddin Rumi. The music that accompanies the Sama is mainly played on the ney (a kind of flute), the Arabic qanun and on hand drums. The mood of rapture and sacred earnest of the ceremony communicates itself directly to those watching it, regardless of their individual faith.


»Istanbul Sema Grubu« der Mevlevi

Al Sheik Hüseyin Erek
İbrahim Suat Erbay Naathan (Singer of the Hymn to the Prophet)
Murat Irkılata solo vocals
Gürsoy Dinçer solo vocals
İlhan Yazıcı solo vocals
Ali Tüfekçi ney
Serkan Mesut Halili kanun
Ömer Aşçıoğlu kemenche
Serdar Bişiren kudum, bendir
Refik Hakan Talu tanbour
Hasan Oruç Semazenbaşı (Head Dervish)
Rituelle Tänzer:
Burhan Katılmış
İbrahim Birlikay
Metin Erkuş
Devrim Ulgaç
Taha Redifoğlu
Sezai Redifoğlu


Sema-Zeremonie mit Musik und Tanz der drehenden Derwische

Estimated end time



Sufi Festival

Promoter: HamburgMusik

Supported by the Stiftung Elbphilharmonie

From the Mediatheque : Videos, Podcasts, Articles

Play Video

: Elbphilharmonie Explains: Sufism

The Berlin expert Sinem Kılıç on this fascinating branch of Islam, its history and traditions.

The spiritual power of music

The artists of the Sufi Festival talk about the special connection between music and spirituality.

Mysticism for everyone

Sufism involves more than just taking refuge in a trance. Rather, it connects the Creator with Creation – among other things, with the help of music.

The Whirling Dervishes

The search for God: On the centuries-old Sufi ritual spin dance.

During your visit

Elbphilharmonie Plaza

A public viewing platform on the 8th floor of the Elbphilharmonie

More about the Plaza

Food and Drink

Before the concert and in the interval

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