Melike Tarhan

Photo: Mehmet Kandemir
Photo: Mehmet Kandemir

Melike’s roots lie in the soil of the Turkish town Emirdag, but she grew up in Belgium playing with different bands. Turkish music was never far away though. Singer, songwriter Melike has a degree in Germanic languages and Psychotherapy as well. From all the these diverse influences her own sound has come to life, and so far it has been expressed on five CDs. 

In 2002, Melike founded, together with Osama Abdulrasol, the music ensemble Melike (with Lode Vercampt, Azzedine Jazouli, Wouter Vandenabeele, Bekir Gürbüz, Emre Gültekin, Henk de Laat, Stefaan Smagghe) with whom she toured a lot, nationally and internationally. They released the album Macar in 2004 (Long Distance, Harmonia Mundi) with reworked Turkish traditionals and their own work, a debut album that was very well received (inter)nationally. This was the beginning of a series of musical peregrinations in which Turkish in combination with Western music was placed in a different framework each time. This is also how the trio Tri a Tolia came into being, where she performed her own compositions together with Osama Abdulrasol and Lode Vercampt (album Zumurrude, 2008 Homerecords).

In 2014 Melike’s next album, Inn of Love, was released with Homerecords (Hendrik Braeckman – guitar, John Snauwaert – sax- and Francois Taillefer – percussion). In Turkey, a version with 5 extra bonus tracks followed with the renowned label KALAN Müzik in February 2015.

With Bruno De Groote and Petra Doom she has written the songs in TARHAN (Bruno de Groote – guitar, Mattias Debusschere – bass- and Frederik Vandenberghe – drums), which was released in 2016.

The band Melike went back to Melike Tarhan’s roots in Barabar (2018), in which she reworked traditional music pieces and strung them together. On the one hand, a return to the simplicity of tradition. On the other hand, she made them her own, because traditionals demand it. They are given life mainly because new performers continue to make them their own.

Melike also performed as a soloist with the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra (COMcerts 2005 – project of Dirk Brossé with among others Ozark Henry, Laïs, Claron McFadden, … ), and she sang on the CD DO’UN (2017) by Mireille Capelle with the HERMES Ensemble, in Olla Vogala (Siyanbonga tour), in La Caccia (with Philippe Malfeyt), Ex Tempore (Cantigas 2002 & Turkish repertoire 2017), several productions by DJ Merdan Taplak (2012, 2021) and she sang the soundtrack of Brod Ludaka (2006), a short film by Matthias Lebeer with music by Dirk Brossé. She sang Dutch pop classics and new songs (by among others Luc De Vos, Bart Peeters, Herman Brusselmans) in Ze kwamen uit Zuid (2008) and further in Geen kwaje vrienden (2017) by Lieven Tavernier, in Koenseer in de Fransen Theejoater (2018) by Dirk Brossé and Luk De Bruyker, in Peace to the World (Wim Opbrouck/Gonewest 2018), in België, dat zijn Wij (2017) with Binti, accompanied by the National Orchestra of Belgium conducted by Dirk Brossé and in many other projects (see discography).

She has participated in various theatre and musical theatre productions. She composed for and sang in Gloria, a project by LOD and Dick van der Harst (CD GLORIA 2007), in Neeland (2014-2015), a musical monologue by Nic Balthazar (with Philippe Malfeyt and Vardan Hovanissian), and in the libretto reading Mitridate (2016), at WALPURGIS.  For Wouter Van Looy and Zonzo Compagnie she made the total spectacle NOMAD Turkey (2015) (Big Bang festival). She also co-created the musical narratives Moeders van de stilte (2016) and Wolkenkinderen (2018) by author and psychologist Birsen Taspinar, together with bassist Henk De Laet and kanun player Osama Abdulrasol. At NTgent she sang, composed and acted in the production Sneeuw (2016-2017) (directed by Luk Perceval). 

In 2005 and 2006, she sang in the programme De Rechtvaardige Rechters (with Jo Van Damme) on Canvas. In 2009, she presented the world music programme ‘Hemel en Aarde’ on Klara.

In 2019, she sang, together with tenor Thomas Blondelle, the Canto General which is composed by Mikis Theodorakis and written by Pablo Neruda. Performed with choir deCHORALE (directed by Paul Dinneweth) en orchestra (directed by Frank De Wolf) in deSingel

She was nominated for a Silver Horse Award in 2011 for her work as a musician in Europe with Turkish roots and has been a member of several juries and committees, including the Flemish Community Culture Awards in 2005 and 2009 for world music, jury president Imagine Festival (youth and music Flanders) 2012 and 2013, jury member Silver Horse Awards together with jury president Zülfü Livaneli, jury member singing competition O Ses Benim (2019) and she was also a member of the Flemish Government Music Assessment Committee (2009-2015). Furthermore, she was a panelist in the Queen Elisabeth Competition Voice 2018.

Comments are closed.