SEMA, is a an artist living between İstanbul and Berlin. She has a wide range of projects reaching to Yunus Emre, Nazım Hikmet and Brecht, alongside anatolian cradle songs brought together in a perfomance called “Anneler, Ninniler – Mothers, Cradle Songs”. Woman Singers who took stage in İstanbul between 1895 – 1940 singing tangos, foxstrots, waltzes and operetts is her main focus. She has a mission to introduce the “Legendary Ladies” to the world... Sema takes already an important place in the music world called as “the woman with the gramophon voice circulating between octaves".


Starting her musical career first with Turkish classical music, SEMA today performes a wide spectrum of music that includes Jazz standards, Brecht Lieder, Yiddish Ghetto songs, Turkish tangos, early songs of Islam and experimental music. Born in Turkey and having lived and performed many years in Germany and other countries, SEMA’s songs are East and West, together and apart, spiritual and this-worldly all at the same time and blended into a style that has become uniquely hers. SEMA has made several recordings and is continuously touring in Europe and beyond.

2011 “Nazım meets Brecht“ concerts at:
- D.E.Ü. Sabancı Kültür Sarayı, event in the framework of International Women's Day, İzmir, Turkey
- “Brecht Festival”, Augsburg, Germany

- In the framework “Istanbul, Capital of Culture”, “7 concerts in 7 neighborhoods for 7 Legendary Ladies”
- In the framework “Istanbul, Capital of Culture”, “Golden Roots”
- "Nazım meets Brecht" concerts in the program “On the Trail of Evliya Çelebi” in Vienna, Frankfurt, Mannheim, Oberhausen and İstanbul Ses Theatre,İstanbul, Turkey
-”Legendary Ladies” concerts at the “Twenty -Ten Festival” in Luzern, Switzerland, Esma Sultan Yalısı, İstanbul, Turkey and “Antalya Altın Portakal Festival”, Antalya, Turkey.
- “Hommage to Istanbul” concerts at “Festival Pontes de Istanbul” Portimao, Portugal
- “İstanbul’da Bir Aşk” concert at İKSV Salon, İstanbul, Turkey

December, “Mevlid /The Blessed Birth of the Prophet Mohammed”, a-capella recitation in Martin Gropius Bau during the exebition “Taswir / Islamische Bildwelten und Moderne”, Berlin

2009 December, “Christmas Songs” in the Church of German Protestant Community, İstanbul

2009 November, “Mothers, Lullabies” Performance during the Festival Honour Games, organised by Festival Temps D’Images, garajistanbul

2009 November, Brechts Echo Performance, as a part of the Project “European Literature goes to Turkey”, funded by European Union and Goethe Institut, Ankara

2009 October, Brechts Echo Performance, as a part of the Project “European Literature goes to Turkey”, funded by European Union and Goethe Institut, Erzurum

2009 June, Participation in Amos Gitai’s adaptation of “The Jewish war” by Flavius Josephe, “The war of the sons of light against the sons of darkness”, narrated by Jeanne Moreau, in Rumelihisar, İstanbul

2009 May, “Legendary Ladies” concert in Lille, France

2008 May, İlahiler ve Nefesler” (“Canticles and Bektashi Hymns”) in Urfa

2008 February, “Songs of Love” in garajistanbul

2007 June, “Legendary Ladies” concert durin the Biennale Bonn, Germany

2007 June, “Mevlid /The Blessed Birth of the Prophet Mohammed”, a-capella recitation in Colombo-Museum in Bonn, Germany

2007 May, Brecht Songs in İzmir

2007 May, “Legendary Ladies” concert in Bremen, Germany

2006 October, “Legendary Ladies” concert on the occasion of 25th Anniversary Theater an der Ruhr Mülheim

2006 September, “Legendary Ladies” concert during the festival “Turkey-Finnland / Together in Tango” in İstanbul

2006 August, “Mevlid /The Blessed Birth of the Prophet Mohammed”, a-capella recitation in Gessner Allee Thetre during the Theaterspektakel Zürich / Switzerland

2006 June, “Mevlid /The Blessed Birth of the Prophet Mohammed”, a-capella recitation in StimmenFestival in Lörrach / Germany

2006 May, İlahiler ve Nefesler” (“Canticles and Bektashi Hymns”) in “Glauben-Festival” in Dresden/Germany

2006 May, İlahiler ve Nefesler” (“Canticles and Bektashi Hymns”) in “Glauben-Festival” in Bochum/Germany

2006 April, “Legendary Ladies” concert in Bremen/Germany

2006 March, “Legendary Ladies” concert during the filmfestival “Türkei-Deutschland” in Nürnberg/Germany

2006 February, “TangoSpirit” Antwerpen 0090 Festival, a different interpretation of “Legendary Ladies” together with musicans from Belgium, Rumenia and Argentina

2005 Participation with the programme “Legendary Ladies” in the festival “La Mer Blanche” in Bern,

February 2005, Performance of “Ashura” in Rotterdamse Schowburg, Stadtschowburg Utrecht and Stadtschowburg Amsterdam, 2-10th April 2005.

Tournee with “Legendary Ladies” through several cities in Turkey (Van, Kars, Malatya etc.)

2004 Participated in the play “Ashura” under the direction of Mustafa Avkiran, 5. Sokak Tiyatrosu.

This play had the premiere during the “Zürcher Theaterspektakel” in August 2003 and toured through several cities in Europe.

The premiere in Turkey is performed in İstanbul during the International Theater Festival in June 2004.

2003“İlahiler ve Nefesler” (“Canticles and Bektashi Hymns”) -

This project has been realized in Koç Museum during the Istanbul Theatre Festival 2003.

2002 There are two ongoing projects first started twenty years ago:

Early Turkish Tangos – Sema has re-interpreted and performed tangos by early female tango singers such as Seyyan Hanım, Afife Hanım, Mürşide Hanım, Deniz Kızı Eftelya etc.

2002 Participated as a singer/actress in the play ‘Nazım’a Armağan’ (Tribute For Nazım),directed by the famous Turkish actor/director Genco Erkal in an all-female cast with Turkey’s foremost 9 actresses, and staged as part of the 2002 Istanbul Theatre Festival.

2000 Performed “İlahiler ve Nefesler” (“Canticles and Bektashi Hymns”) at the Heilig Kreuz Church in Berlin together with Henning Schmiedt (organ and cembalo), Uli Moritz (percussion) and Süleyman Erguner (ney).

2000 Composed and performed musical part in the play “Dumrul ile Azrail (“Dumrul and Azrael”), a play by the Turkish playwrite Murathan Mungan and staged by the 5. Sokak Theatre Group at the Istanbul Theatre Festival under the direction of Mustafa Avkıran.

The play toured several cities including Zurich, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Haarlem, Arnheim, Berlin, Austria (‘Donaufestival’) and Tunisia.

1998 Staged her first experimental vocal performance “21 Donnerrollen” with internationally renowned space acoustics artist Andres Bosshard at the per>SON Festival at the Cologne Musical Academy. Worked with director Daniela Zehnder the same year in Zurich,in a light-dance-sound performance and, together with Mustafa Kaplan and Hüseyin Katırcioğlu,worked with internationally renowed dancers and musicians.

1998 Participated in a symposium organized by the Körber Foundation, Bonn, Germany titled “Relgion: The taboo subject in Turkish-German Relations”and performed religious songs by Yunus Emre and Celaleddin Rumi with her group Sema & Taksim.

1997 Composed and performed songs for Hüseyin Katırcıoğlu’s play “Sappho” at the Assos Performing Arts Festival in Turkey.

1997 Started to perform Turkish tangos from the early Turkish Republican era of the 1920’s and 1930’s. This project “Seven Kalp böyle Yanar” (“Thus Burns the Loving Heart”). continues today under the title “Legendary Ladies”

1996 Staging the performance “Hommage an İstanbul” at the CRR Concert Hall in Istanbul.

1996 Participated in the concert “Jerusalem 3000 – A Tribute to Tolerance” together with Giora Feidman and the Russian Orthodox Choir Arte Chorale at the Thomaskirche in Erfrut, Germany.

1995 Debut of her performance “Istanbul’u Dinliyorum (“Listening to Istanbul”) at the Haghia Eirine in Istanbul.

1994 Singing performance in the play “Şeyh Bedreddin Destanı” by the famous Turkish poet Nazım Hikmet, together with the Turkish actor Tuncel Kurtiz staged at the Yerebatan Cistern in Istanbul. The play tourned several cities in Turkey and Europe

1989 First met with famous clarinet player Giora Feidman and worked with him.

1987 Founded her own musical ensemble Sema & Taksim together with several German musicians. Next to the piano, saxophone, counter bass and percussion, the group also featured the bandoneon and tabla and participated in many international music festivals

1984 – 86 Performed with the “Ensemble Kreuzberger Freunde”, Berlin, as the group’s vocalist, specializing in songs from Yunus Emre, Celaleddin Rumi, Dede Efendi and Nazım Hikmet.