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Ney player

Bülent Özbek was born in 1959 in Istanbul. His interest in Islamic Sufism (tasavvuf) and Sufi music, and his introduction to meşk began in 1979 when he started to learn the ney with Fuat Türkelman while he was working towards an undergraduate degree in Business at the Marmara University. Özbek continued studying the ney, taking lessons in performance style from the virtuoso neyzen (ney player) Niyazi Sayın in 1980 and by learning the forms, performance techniques, types and purposes of Sufi music from Safer Dal in the context of meşk. With the approval of his teachers, he played his first concert in 1981 with İnci Çayırlı. Afterwards he had the opportunity to perform with various master ney performers including Alaaddin Yavaşça and Cinuçen Tanrıkorur.

In 1982 he received a sanction from Selman Tüzün to play the ney in Mevlevi rituals and performed in a Mevlevi ritual for the first time with Bican Dede. Özbek still holds the position of neyzen başı (lead ney-player) in the Mevlevi rituals held at the Yenikapı Mevlevihanesi. In 1986 he began playing the ney in the ensemble accompanying the eminent singer Ahmet ÖZHAN, where he had the opportunity to learn from the ney players Cüneyt Kosal, Abdi Coşkun, and the lead ney-player of the ensemble Doğan Ergin. He recorded with the Turkish Radio and Television Cooperation (TRT) Sufi music choir between 1989 and 1990. Özbek became a member of the İstanbul Tarihi Türk Müziği Topluluğu (Istanbul Historical Turkish Music Ensemble) in 1991. He has played many national and international concerts with the ensemble since then.

Özbek has performed the ney in many audio recordings, among which are several albums by the famous singer Ahmet Özhan, in film and documentary soundtracks, and in video recordings of Mevlevi rituals. Özbek has been performing at the "Mevlâna Haftası ve Şeb-i Arus" events held in Konya since 1990.

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