Music as a tradition of centuries: the heritage of the Turkish Gypsies


Dolapdere is a neighborhood in Turkey where tourists do not usually walk around. The majority of the population is Gypsy. And the Gypsies, as is the tradition for centuries, are the providers of music for weddings, circumcision ceremonies, parades and parties. And this neighborhood gives its name to the group, the Orchestra Dolapdere, that accompanies the expressive and virtuoso clarinetist Cüneyt Sepetçi. They play Gypsy songs from Turkey, Albania, Macedonia and other origins.

Cüneyt Sepetçi comes from a family where music has been the traditional professional career for generations. He lives his life as a clarinet teacher, as did his grandparents and uncles. Grandpa Asım, his father’s grandfather, used to play the clarinet.

About Cüneyt, we collaborate with Gulbaba Music from Turkey.

The family arrived from Thessaloniki to Istanbul during the population exchange between Greece and Turkey after the 1922 catastrophe and settled in the Mimar Sinan neighborhood in Büyükçekmece. They lived there for quite some time until the family had to save their lives by escaping from a mafia extortionist and moved to Gaziosmanpaşa, a quiet and almost uninhabited region of green meadows. But when Cüneyt’s father dies, he will have to look for life in the city: and so he arrives to Dolapdere.

The family and personal trajectory of the Gypsy musicians of the Asia Minor area and the Balkans, as well as their orientation to the public service, together with the capacity and experience of Cüneyt since his childhood, make a combination with a masterful result.