Breathy sound

Aka's ney sound was ideal for dervish music. His breathy tone quality reminds me of the raspy breathing that dervishes make when they reach an advanced state of rapturous dancing and rhythmic breathing, or zikir ("La ilahe illallâh," Trk., [There is] no God but Allah).


Aka especially loved the lowest register of theKâni Karaca ney and he had developed a powerful tone there. In those low tones, Aka's dark, resonant sound was at its most profound. He liked to linger there, working the lowest tones, even at times bending Kaba Rast (the lowest note) a half- or even a whole-step lower. Aka's low register has a lot in common with the dark, compelling voice of Kâni Karaca (right) (click for larger image), for decades the unquestioned leading singer of Sufi music.



Niyazi, Aka
Aka's broad, breathy, dark ney sound, never tongued, was the opposite
of the focused, bright, flute-like timbre and tongued notes of the slightly more famous ney player of the last third of the twentieth century, Niyazi Sayın (on left in photo) (click for larger image). Niyazi was perfectly capable of playing in the lowest range but he never lingered there for long, escaping quickly to the brighter tones of the middle and upper octaves.


Niyazi may have been the most celebrated of secular Ottoman classical music ney players, but once Aka came into his own, Aka was designated
Serneyzen (principal ney player) at the annual Mevlâna Festival in Konya on the anniversary of the death of Celaleddin al Rumi in December, a signal honor for a ney player because of the historical association of ney with the Mevlevi (See Feldman 1996).click for large image

Aka also made several recordings of the Mevlevi ritual music as soloist with Kâni, the best recording of which is the now out-of-print "Music of the Whirling Dervishes" CD on Atlantic label (left) (click for larger image).


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last revised 21 September 2008