ASC Music - Directed by Burak Kaynarca





[The word of breath (nefes) has double meaning as the familiar sense and a hymn of Bek-tashi order] Bektashi hymns (nefes), which always being repeated with affection, have an important role on lasting of Bektashiism in a vast territory extending from Anatolia to the Balkans from the 13th century to the present day. Nefes is one of the factors that bear vital importance in terms of maintaining the humanbeing’s physical existence and also attaining his/her moral maturity. Because of their utterances originate from The Supreme’s revelati-on, the verses (hymns) are called as a nefes (breath) by the Bektashis. As a term of tekke (dervish convent) literature, nefes has a distinctive compositon with accompaniment, chant by dervishes of assembly of affection staff and the other participants with great zeal at Bektashi convents. It contains niceties and graceful expressions, here and there too familiar. Even if some nefeses have been written with prosody, in general they have been written out with syllabic meter of 7, 8 and 11, as the same of koşma form.

These verses are named as nutuk if they only will be recited, they are named as nefes if they will be sung. They contain amorously, unconventional, lordly subjects. Nefeses express the-mes related with the system of faith and idea of Bektashiism, as well as customs and rule of morals. Also the understanding of Unity of Being, praise to the Prophet Muhammad, eulogy to Ali, elegy to Hüseyin and martyrs of Kerbela, eulogy to twelve Imams, Hacı Bektaş-ı Veli, spiritual guide and teachers are mentioned in nefeses. In like manner, it is talked about man-kind, its characteristics and being of the most exalted of whole creatures.



The most beuatiful nefeses of the Turkish literature in respects of form and contents are writ-ten out by poets like Seyyid Nizamoğlu Seyfullah, Hatâyî, Pir Sultan Abdal, Âşık Hasan, Kul Himmet and Rıza Tevfik, Derviş Ruhullah, Davut Sularî, Âşık Dâimî at more recent times. As far as known, nefeses are composed by artists like Mızıkacı Derviş Tevfik, Perîşân Baba, Eyüplü Zâkir Yaşar Baba, Nuri Halil Poyraz, Kâzım Baba and Sâmih Rifat at the last century. Bektas-hi nefeses differs from hymns of other orders in respect of manner. Though their poets are known, the compositors are unknown, excluding the recent times. Nefeses, in which some has extremely influential composition, are measured in small rhythmic patterns in general. In fact every nefes has not seperate composition, thus same anonymous composition may be used in nefeses. Nefeses are performed with accompaniment of ney, tanbûr, rebâb, ud, kânûn and kudüm at great convents or bağlama, çöğür, cura and tanbura at small convents. The determination and transfer of culture of Bektashiism, which renews itself when required and reaches by oral tradition to its drawee with its peculiar manner, is achieved via written works

like Cönk, Erkânname, Buyruk, Menakıbnâme.


Important poet of the tradition Pîr Sultan Abdal tells beautifully about difficulty on the order’s path and certain responsibilities burdened to devotee by the order:

Oh, fine lover! Did not I say you that


You could not endure our oppression


This is a morsel of acquiescence


Did not I say you could not eat.


Let’s listen intently Balım Sultan who tells “Our purpose is the Lover” and Âşık Hasan of Tamaş-var, possessor of good rules and manners of the path:


We are the truth of those who have arrived at the divine truth We are the flowers of the private garden We are the servants of Hacı Bektaş


Good rules, manners and the path are exist at us.


Let’s gird on the ardor belt of “make ourselves esteem alive” in according to assertion of Pîr Sultan:


They aroused us while we slept


They esteemed us alive.



Dr. Mustafa ÇIPAN

(Translated by Dr. Rıza DURU)





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