Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol is a Grammy nominated Turkish-American composer, jazz pianist and singer. The Boston Globe has called Sanlıkol’s music “colorful, fanciful, full of rhythmic life, and full of feeling.” In this op-ed for the Huffington Post, Mr. Sanlıko talks about growing up as a secular Muslim in Turkey, recounting how his father would “only take me to the mosque a couple of times during Ramadan. Praying five times a day was not required in our household and fasting during Ramadan was just occasional. That being said, religious holidays were very much acknowledged as were religious ceremonies to honor the dead.” The musician says his relationship with Islam was much “more cultural than devotional” and feels that this is “common among millions of Muslims.”
Mr. Sanlıko states that the cultural heritage of Islam is much more diverse and that Muslims who are secular (“or loosely practicing”) along with those that follow Sufism (Islamic mysticism) should all be included in the narrative, especially when the Muslim communities are featured in news stories. The musician, who now lives in Boston, has recently addressed these themes in new music composing of a choral piece called DEVRAN which “combines Sufi Muslim texts from 17th century Istanbul, European Renaissance choral style, and Middle Eastern musical elements into an artistic whole.“
CLICK for The Turkish 2nd Line (New Orleans Çiftetellisi) featuring Anat Cohen, composed by Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol.