On april 16, 2011, Ahmet ‘Haci’ Tekbilek was given the “Artist of the Year 2011” award at the Folk- and World Music Gala in Gothenburg, Sweden. More about that here.
‘Haci’ Tekbilek is the internationally wellknown master of the ney, mey, oud, saz, surna, bagpipe, kaval and almost any instrument used in traditional turkish music.
Ahmet Tekbilek was born in Adana, a town on the southern coast of Turkey near the border of Syria. He was given the nickname Hadji by his father, who hoped he would make the pilgramage (Hadj) to Mecca. At age eight, while working as a tailor’s apprentice, he found a ney (end blown Turkish flute) in the attic and has been playing ever since. He attended the school for folk music in his hometown and began performing locally. At fifteen he traveled to Istanbul with a popular singer and there was taken under the wing of the influential Turkish jazz drummer Burhan Baba, who taught him Turkish classical music. He quickly became one of Istanbul’s most sought after studio musicians and worked with many of Turkey’s leading artists, including superstars Orhan Gencebay and Zeki Muren.
In 1974, Hadji moved to Sweden to play in Turkish jazz drummer Okay Temiz’ group Oriental Wind, Sweden has been his main home since, with interludes in New York, and back home in Turkey. He has traveled extensively, performing in the US, Germany, France, Scandinavia, Israel, India and other countries. Most recently he has worked as a music teacher and with the Swedish National Theater as well as the Swedish National Concert Group.