Ex Orient Deluxe

Photo: Jakob Rosseel


(click to see the biography)

Bruno De Groote – guitar

Frederik Van den Berghe – bass

Matthias Debusschere – drums

Melike Tarhan – lead vocals


Mehmet Polat – oud

Vardan Hovanissian –  doudouk & klarinet

Mahabub Khan – backing vocals, harmonium, sitar

Didier Likeng – backing vocals

(TARHAN is a Belgium-based band)

The group TARHAN was born out of one of those coincidence-or-not encounters. What the Ghent Festivities are good for… Melike Tarhan, Flemish singer with Turkish roots, met guitarist Bruno de Groote there during an occasional collaboration. They made music together during “Ox-femmes”, a project in favour of strong women all over the world.

The two got into a musical chat. An artistic spark ignited. Melike was ready to start something new. Bruno wanted just a bit less projects. But the curiosity was too strong, and the spark became a crackling fire before he knew it. Two more elite musicians came to supply firewood in Bruno’s wake: Matthias Debusschere and Frederik Van den Berghe. TARHAN was a fact.

Koen Keppens

Photo: Koen Keppens

TARHAN is the first English-language project of singer-songwriter Melike. Previously, she played with the fusion of East and West in Turkish-language projects (Macar, Longdistance, Harmonia Mundi; Zumurrude, Homerecords.be) and continues to do so in Inn of love, the CD released in October 2014 by the Homerecords.be label, and in Turkey with KALAN müzik, where jazz makes its appearance… . A growth process from respect for tradition, to caution and daring experimentation.

TARHAN was preceded by a period of re-sourcing, in which Melike went in search of the essence of her own rootsy sound. For the subjects she wanted to sing about. The latter soon became clear to her: things that were close to her heart. The big truths that resound in the small things of the personal. The lyrics came into being after nights of talking, philosophising and writing together with Petra Doom.

Koen Keppens

Photo: Koen Keppens

TARHAN is thus the result of encounters. Between East and West. Between people who were touched by each other. A cross-pollination of Melike’s musical discoveries and personal insights on the one hand and the artistic input of her musicians on the other. The sound is best described as ethno-pop: Western music with Eastern frills and crazy guests.

The melodies are easily digestible, the subjects of the songs sometimes grab something heavier. Melike not only sings about the rose thorns and moon disease of love, but also about incomprehension between people. The inability to build bridges. Being trapped: in yourself, in a tradition, in fear of the unknown. Each song is a playful musical story with sharp edges: the songs want to incite to dance and then to think. Or the other way around.




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