DÜNYA (the Turkish, Arabic, Persian, Greek word for “world”), a musicians’ collective and a record label, is a non-profit, tax exempt educational organization located in Boston, Massachusetts. Its goal is to explore a cosmopolitan view of the world through the lens of a wide range of Turkish traditions, alone and in conversation with the musics of the formerly Ottoman peoples—Greeks, Jews, Armenians, Arabs, Kurds, mystics—as well as with western and other world traditions. The DÜNYA collective includes specialists in Ottoman music, early European music, Middle Eastern Christian and Jewish music, ethnomusicology, jazz, contemporary composition and popular music. In DÜNYA projects, research and translation combine with original composition, improvisation and musical experimentation to create lively presentations, recordings and publications aimed at engaging contemporary audiences. DÜNYA seeks to work with a wide range of cultural and religious organizations and relies on no particular political, governmental or religious affiliation or support of any kind.

What makes DÜNYA different?

This is what you can expect from DÜNYA programs each season:

Renk (color). The many colors of music—popular and classical, secular and sacred, old and new—are displayed in adventurous programs which explore the relationships among different styles.

Sohbet (conversation). In conversation, culture and individuality are enhanced, not threatened. Programming begins with the Ottoman/Turkish tradition, but Turkish music is just one voice among many.

This is why so many DÜNYA programs involve collaborations which cross boundaries of style and tradition. All repertoires are presented respectfully and explored for what they contribute to the whole. Almost every program includes improvisation and new composition, often inspired by traditional forms.

Why are we called a musicians’ collective?

At the core of DÜNYA, even before musicianship, lies friendship. DÜNYA’s many ensembles are nothing but friends of DÜNYA coming together to make music. Some of DÜNYA’s friends will tend to appear in more productions. However, there will also be DÜNYA productions such as A Story of the City: Constantinople, Istanbul in which as many as 35 musicians/friends will collaborate. Yet even though some of the cast members in such a production may be participating at a DÜNYA event for the first time, they will immediately become a member of the greater DÜNYA family.

DÜNYA has core members and many circles of friends. Depending on the musical direction and the kinds of instruments required in a particular production, our core members will be joined by a number of our friends. That’s what makes us a Musicians’ Collective.

Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol