Artists overview

Vardan Hovanissian & Emre Gültekin

A symbol of Turkish-Armenian reconciliation

Vardan Hovanissian & Emre Gültekin symbolise the reconciliation between two peoples.  The sounds they produce with the duduk from Armenia and the saz from Turkey are melancholy but also full of hope.  Their second album “Karin” is the ancient Armenian name for the town of Erzurum, located in what is now Turkey.  It refers to the birthplace of Vardan Hovanissian’s grandfather, who was one of 200 survivors following the deportation of around 40,000 people during the Armenian genocide.  The album is dedicated to the cosmopolitan period in Karin, which was a meeting place for the different cultures that existed along the Silk Road.

This album sees the duo continuing their exploration of the links between Turkish and Armenian traditions.  It broadens the scope to take in the richness of the musical heritage of the troubled region including Armenia, Turkey, Georgia, Iran and the Kurdish area.

Inspired by a wandering soul and guided by a borderless friendship, the duo’s music weaves links between languages and styles.  This latest collaboration is a hymn to intercultural exchanges, and it derives its strength from a spirit of sharing and generosity.  It delves into the wide variety of traditional repertoires, bringing several lost treasures back to life, but also offers new compositions that address topical issues such as the fate of refugees.

With the album Adana, Vardan Hovanissian and Emre Gültekin have won the Octave de la Musique 2016 for World Music.


Vardan Hovanissian (duduk) (Armenia – BE)

Emre Gültekin (sazbaglama, voice)(Turkey – BE)

Marat Jeremian (dhol)(Armenia – NL)

Joris Vanvinckenroye / Brice Soniano (double bass) (BE-FR)





Since he was introduced to the duduk by his master Khachik Khachatryan, Vardan Hovanissian has become one of the most talented ambassadors for this ancient double-reeded instrument whose melancholy tones reflect the Armenian soul.  He found his musical soul-mate over ten years ago when he met Emre Gültekin, who learned the art of the Turkish saz from his father Lütfü Gültekin and from Talip Özkan.

Vardan Hovanissian (duduk)

Vardan Hovanissian is recognised as a specialist in traditional Armenian woodwind instruments. The duduk, a double-reed instrument dating from the 5th century BC, reflects the very sound and soul of Armenia, and its warm timbre is increasingly appreciated by audiences all over the world. Strongly rooted in traditional Armenian music, Vardan almost naturally creates links with the music of neighboring territories such as Turkey and Syria, and with other European folk and jazz influences.

Vardan has performed with the National Folk Music Ensemble and bands such as Gandzsar, Marathouk & Ervand Saharouny in Armenia. His encounter with Tigran and Yasmin Levy was the catalyst for fruitful collaborations around the world, leading to concerts in Europe, Canada, Australia and Asia with Yasmin Levy, Arax, Hijaz and Blindnote.

Emre Gültekin (sazbaglama, vocals)

In the Gültekin family, playing music is as natural as breathing. Born in 1980 in La Louvière (Belgium), Emre discovered music thanks to his father Lütfü Gültekin teaching him to play the saz, a long-necked lute capable of generating the most subtle harmonies. Elusive and complex, crossing cultural boundaries, the instrument was widely adopted throughout the Middle East – ranging even to Siberia – in various forms, but it was in Anatolian music that it reached its artistic apogee and greatest expression, with great masters such as Talip Ozkan and Mustafa Karaçeper, who also directly instructed Emre and his father Lütfü, whose compositions play an important role in the Turkish folk song repertoire.

Today Emre is an accomplished artist in his own right, engaged in many musical projects and interacting with diverse influences, with musicians from many different backgrounds, from Malick Pathe Sow (Senegal) to Goran Bregovic (Serbia), to Véronique Gillet (Belgium) and Dadmehr (Iran). He also plays in groups such as Blindnote and his family group Gültekinler and has started to write film music alongside his day job as a sound engineer.

Guest musicians:

Joris Vanvinckenroye (double bass)

One of Belgium’s most creative bass players, Joris Vanvinckenroye finds inspiration in all musical genres – classical, world, rock, jazz and folk – and mixes them ingeniously in his work. A ’De Tijd’ newspaper critic once wrote, ’In his head, Astor Piazzolla lives right next-door to John Cale and Jethro Tull.’ Joris started his career with successful folk band Troissœur before deciding to go his own way. He went on to found the classical-folk-rock band Aranis, whose cinematic fusion style greatly impressed the Belgian music scene. A solo album Cycles (2009) presented another project, his one-man double-bass orchestra BASta! From 2005 to 2012 he combined recording five albums with performances in Europe and United-States. On top of a range of collaborative projects, he is currently turning his talents to composition.

Simon Leleux (daf and percussion)

Simon Leleux started to study oriental percussion at the age of 10. At 12, he became a member of the instrumental ensemble Bouche à oreilles, which fostered his passion for music and for percussion in particular. From the outset, he was lucky enough to benefit from tuition from Quentin Smolderen and Azzedine Jazouli, which he followed up with masterclasses in Belgium and abroad conducted by, among others, Madjid Khaladj (Iran), Misirli Ahmet (Turkey), Kostas Anastasiadis (Turkey) and Pedram Khavarzamini (Iran). A student at Codarts in Rotterdam, Simon performs with the bands Sysmo, Gnatz, Orbal, Creutz Trio and Osvald Arcady.

Mixworldmusic.com (NL)
Pieter Franssen

“Karin – not a lady, but a legendary trading city in the Caucasus, a junction along the Silk Road  – gives rise to goosebumps, tears and uplifting swing.”

RnR magazine (UK)
Dave Haslam

**** « [Mawda] is a mournful , beautifully unsettling and stunning critique of inhuman immigration policies that demonstrates once again  that Hovanissian and Gültekin are true masters of their art»

Blogfoolk (IT)
Ciro De Rosa

“[An] intense work that reaches high quality tips, arousing deep emotions and reflections”

Songlines (UK)
Simon Broughton

**** “Uplifting. A potential disc of the year”


London Evening Standard (UK)

“Thought-provoking and beautiful”

Klara - Late Night World (BE)

“Best of 2018” – Jaaroverzicht wereldmuziek

Globalwize's Best of 2018 (DE)
Jean Trouillet

“Qalma Damtskevia” is n°8 in Globalwize’s Best of 2018

5planètes - Des mondes de musiques (BE)
Etienne Bours

“Tradition, poésie, compositions récentes, sobriété, retenue, délicatesse, envolées des instruments et des voix à travers les petites histoires et la grande Histoire, tels sont les ingrédients d’un disque d’une étonnante dignité humaine.”

Rootstime (BE)
Dani Heyvaert

We are doomed to each other and sooner or later we will really have to live together. Vardan and Emre prove that it is possible, if you want and if you accept each other as you are. May seem like a cliché, but it remains an unmistakable truth. Thanks to records like these – and about the masterful musicality we do not even have to discuss – every man of good will will continue to believe that we will ever get there. Another top record, which comes to us thanks to the unsurpassed Muziekpublique.

OxfamBrugge.be (BE)

“A few keywords in this stunningly beautiful, shivering and throat-wracking music are: intimate, lyrical, introspective, melancholic, languorous, contemplative, nostalgic.”

ekultura.hu (HU)
Tamás Galgóczi

“The music is defined by the sounds of the duduk and the saz, giving it a whole melancholic mood, but no hope is missing from it. The compositions include contemporary themes (Mawda) and historical lookback (Karin), love lyrics and dancing rhythms. And there are a lot of improvisations and ear-popping melodies, this music really is a sense of mastery, mutual attention, and friendship between the two musicians.”

Etnoumlje (RS)
Vanja Ilijev

“The musicians are excellent, all the compositions are superbly arranged and the album is well packaged, each song has a story that transcends the time and space frames. Where myths and legends are still intertwined with reality.”

Subjectivisten.nl (NL)
Jan Willem Broek

“In a connecting way, they once again deliver an unparalleled world album, from which you just become very quiet.”

Radio Bremen (DE)
Andreas Kisters

Karin: CD-Tipp Radio Bremen

Moors Magazine (BE)

“Duduk player Vardan Hovanissian and singer and saz player Emre Gültekin have already made a blood-curdlingly beautiful album together before, Adana, and this album is again of an unimaginable melancholic beauty that makes me cry. And that’s all I say about it. Listen! Hopefuler music is rarely made.”

L'Avenir.net (BE)
J-P G.

“Une musique paisible et positive qui invite à la réflexion et au partage.”

Brussels Express (BE)

“From nostalgic to playful rhythms, their music shares forgotten stories and transfers listeners to distant lands.”

Jazz'Halo (BE)
Claude Loxhay

“Cette musique se veut toujours proche de la mémoire (Houcher), des populations opprimées et des migrations mais en prônant la fraternité.”

MICmag (BE)
Ani Paitjan

“Un souffre pacifique”

RTBF - La Première (BE)
Didier Mélon

“Le Monde est un village”

Laure de Hesselle

Rubrique “Coups de coeur”

World Music Central (US)
Angel Romero

Armenian-Turkish-Belgian ensemble Adana is the winner of Octaves de la Musique 2016 award in the world music category. The band aims to reconcile Armenian and Turkish cultures and is led by Armenian-Belgian Vardan Hovanissian (duduk) and Turkish-Belgian Emre Gültekin (saz, vocals). The rest of the ensemble includes Belgian musicians Joris Vanvinckenroye on double bass and Simon Leleux on percussion.

Hudba sveta_FM (SK)
Potancok Vladimir
RTS - Espace 2 (CH )
Vincent Zanetti
Etnoumlje (RS)
Bojan Dordevic

Top liste za 2015

Rockserwis - Etnos (PL)
Iska Marchwica
MixedWorldMusic (NL )
Bas Springer

Verslag BabelMed

Subjectivisten nl (NL )
Jan Willem

“Adana is not only nostalgic and wistful looking back but also dreaming about another Adana, where people can live together in harmony again”

Het Nabije Oosten Nabij Twente (NL )
De Concertzender


Heaven (NL )
Pieter Wijnstekers
Trouw (NL )
Mischa Andriessen
MixedWorldMusic (NL )
Ton Maas
Vrije Geluiden

Honderd jaar na dato vragen de Armeense Vardan Hovanissian en de Turkse Emre Gültekin aandacht voor de Armeense genocide. Het is hoog tijd voor verzoening, aldus de musici. Het duo nam een album op met de titel ‘Adana’ en spelen twee stukken in de uitzending. Pianist Rob van Bavel bewerkte voor zijn cd ‘The Inventors’ stukken van Debussy, Ravel en Bach

Moorsmagazine (NL )
Nrk Radio ( NO)
Folk Bulletin (IT)
Alessandro Nobis
Cultura Commestibile (IT)
Alessandro Michelucci

Fratello armeno, fratello turco

Centro di Documentazione sui popoli minacciati
La Vie (FR )
Anne Berthod

“Tout un symbole en cette année centenaire du génocide arménien. Sur le premier disque de ce duo belge, on s’abandonne purement et simplement à l’envoûtante tristesse du doudouk, dont le sanglot nostalgique pleure la patrie meurtrie, les héros fauchés et les villes détruites (Adana). Mais il porte aussi les amours éternelles et l’espoir d’un avenir meilleur.”

Muzzika (FR )
Nadia Khoury-Daghe

“C’est le nom de cette ville, devenue tout un symbole pour les Arméniens, qu’ont choisi nos deux artistes, l’un arménien et l’autre turc, Vardan Hovanissian au duduk et Emre Gültekin au saz, pour cet album qui marie leurs deux musiques, qui ne faisaient qu’une autrefois. Car musiques arméniennes et musiques turques s’entremêlent depuis longtemps, puisque leurs populations s’entremêlaient, et il n’est pas question ici de « fusion » ou de « mariage », mais d’une musique qui a une matrice commune, ces rives d’Asie Mineure porteuses de civilisation, où souffle l’esprit depuis l’Antiquité et Alexandre Le Grand…”

Concerts Reviews (FR )
Charles Eloy
Klara Late Night (BE )
Bart Vanhoudt
Brussel deze week (BE )
Benjamin Tollet
MO.be (BE )
John Vandaele
TV Brussel (BE )
Ryan Le Garret
Brusselnieuws (BE )
De Standaard (BE )
De Standaard (BE )
Folk Lantern (BE )
Hans Jansen

“Met Adana demonstreren Hovanissian & Gültekin op het eerste gezamenlijke werkstuk dat verschillende culturen elkaar in harmonie kunnen vinden. Het virtuoze en van warme weemoed doortrokken album ontdekt de grenzen van het mogelijke juist door zich er een stukje overheen te wagen, in het schijnbaar onmogelijke”

Rootstime (BE )
Jan Van Leersum
Folk (BE )
Antoine Légat

“Tien jaar geleden knoopte Vardan Hovanissian vriendschap aan met de Turk Emre Gültekin, die virtuoos saz, tambur en nog een reeks Turkse snaarinstrumenten bespeelt. Adana werd een hommage aan de vreedzame coëxistentie van beide verwante culturen anno nu in Adana.”

Folk (BE )
Peter Van Rompaey

Symbool van de verzoening en vriendschap tussen twee verwante culturen”

Radio lejatszo Bartok (HU)
Yle - Areena Radio - Ethnoilta (FI)
Mika Kauhanen
Lara López
Mundofonias (ES )
Hrant Dink
Los sonidos del planeta azul (ES )
Potlista (HR)
Johann Kneihs
NDR- Radio Globo (DE)
Klaus Frederking
RCF Liège (BE )

Un peu de tout [Album de la semaine]

Antenne Centre (La Louvière) (BE )
Thomas Catteau
RTBF - Musiq3 (BE )
Françoise Lecharlier
Larsen (BE )
Benjamin Tollet

la réconciliation

Imagine (BE )
Etienne Bours

Ces deux musiciens, frères dans la douleur et dans le souvenir, nous emmènent sur un des nombreux chemins de larmes de cette terre. Comme une mémoire qui étire ces souvenirs, les chansons et les airs de ce disque nous confient la nostalgie d’une population, distillant des portraits, des images, des évocations. Pour nous montrer la beauté d’un pays, la force de ses paysages, l’espoir de l’amour, la dignité des hommes et la détermination de ceux qui continuent à lutter pour rétablir la vérité. Quitte à lutter jusqu’à la mort, quitte à ne pouvoir confier leur dernier souffle qu’à celui du duduk, aux mots du poète ou au chant du troubadour de Turquie. Vardan Hovanissian et Emre Gültekin relaient à leur tour, avec une poésie infinie, cette histoire que trop d’humains semblent oublier ou ne pas connaître”

Radio Panik - Djiboutik (BE )
Nathalie Martin
La Libre Belgique (BE )
Nicolas Blanmont

“L’air de rien, Vardan Hovanissian et Emre Gültekin en disent ensemble les vertus. (…) Disque engagé, “Adana” l’est donc forcément aussi, même si on peut se contenter d’y trouver un profond plaisir musical”

Air TV Music (BE )

Past concerts

19/11/23 Elbphilharmonie (Hamburg, DE)
20/11/22 Festival in Oost-Vlaanderen (Wortegem-Petegem, BE)
12/10/22 Alte Oper Frankfurt (Frankfurt, DE)
30/09/22 Festival in Oost-Vlaanderen (Wetteren, BE)
24/09/22 Festival in Oost-Vlaanderen - Ninove (Ninove, BE)
17/09/22 Odegand (Gent, BE)
10/07/22 Forde Festival (Forde, NO )
11/05/22 ADEMAR Support Night - Muziekpublique (Brussels , BE)
01/05/22 Wereldlokaal Zutphen (Zutphen, NL)
01/05/22 Schouwburg Lochem (Lochem, NL)
30/04/22 Bibliotheek Deventer (Deventer, NL)
29/04/22 Vestzaktheater (Enschede, NL)
28/04/22 Akoesticum (Ede, NL)
12/12/21 Het Koelhuis (Zutphen , NL)
12/12/21 Schouwburg (Lochem, NL)
11/12/21 Vestzaktheater (Enschede, NL)
10/12/21 Bibliotheek Deventer (Deventer, NL)
05/12/21 Musée de Cannes (Cannes, FR)
17/11/21 Cultuurhuis De Leest (Izegem, BE)
01/09/21 Propulse (Brussels, BE)
20/06/21 CC René Magritte (Lessines, BE)
11/06/21 Muziekpublique (Brussels , BE )
01/06/21 Transversales (Verdun, FR)
06/12/20 Musée de la Castre (Cannes, FR)
24/04/20 Cultuurhuis de Leest (Izegem, BE)
11/03/20 Rudolf-Oetker-Halle (Bielefeld, DE)
01/02/20 hear&now Musikfestival (Liestal, CH)
19/12/19 Nouveau Pavillon (Bouguenais, FR)
06/12/19 Salle philharmonique (Liège, BE)
19/10/19 Merodefestival - concerten (Langdorp, BE)
30/09/19 Todo Mundo Festival (Belgrade, RS)
29/09/19 Eđšeg kulturna stanica (Novi Sad, RS)
28/09/19 World Music Festival Bratislava ( SK)
13/09/19 Festival musicale del mediterraneo (Genoa, IT)
01/09/19 Lucerne Festival
31/08/19 Lucerne Festival
30/08/19 Lucerne Festival
29/08/19 Lucerne Festival
28/08/19 Lucerne Festival
27/08/19 Lucerne Festival (Lucerne, CH)
15/06/19 KulturPunkt (Flawil, CH)
14/06/19 Festival des 5 Continents (Martigny, CH)
10/06/19 Belgian World Music Night | Ancienne Belgique (Brussels, BE)
25/05/19 Hagyományok Háza (Budapest, HU)
05/04/19 La Haye-Pesnel ( FR)
04/04/19 Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouët ( FR)
31/03/19 Muziekclub 't Ey (Belsele, BE)
23/03/19 De X (Leiden , NED)
16/03/19 Mulheim ( DE)
15/03/19 Münster ( DE)
05/12/18 CC Jacques Franck (Bruxelles, BE)
24/11/18 Ferme de la Dïme (Wasseiges, BE)
19/10/18 CD-RELEASE - Muziekpublique (Brussels, BE)
25/08/18 Festival Kleur (Burcht, BE)
12/06/18 Jazz Meets World (Prague, CZ)
21/05/18 Music Meeting (Nijmegen, NL)
24/03/18 Maison de Mormont (Erezée, BE)
02/02/18 Arsenal (Metz, FR)
22/04/17 Germany tour 02/04/2017-21/04/2017
21/04/17 (Detmold , GER)
19/04/17 (Bonn, GER)
14/04/17 (Gelsenkirchen, GER)
13/04/17 (Wuppertal, GER)
10/04/17 (Cologne, GER)
10/04/17 (Bergkamen, GER)
09/04/17 (Sankt Augustin, GER)
07/04/17 (Gütersloh , GER)
05/04/17 (Düsseldorf, GER)
03/04/17 (Bocholt, GER)
31/03/17 Café de la Danse (Paris , FR )
23/03/17 Centre Culturel Bruges (Bruges, BE)
10/03/17 Théâtre Ronny Coutteure (Grenay, FR )
07/03/17 Philharmonie du Luxembourg (Luxembourg, LU)
06/03/17 Philharmonie du Luxembourg (Luxembourg, LU)
05/03/17 Philharmonie du Luxembourg (Luxembourg, LU)
24/02/17 Festival Paroles d’Hommes (Herve, BE)
19/02/17 Chateau de Viroinval (Nismes, BE)
18/02/17 Centre Culturel Braives-Burdinne (Braives, BE)
11/02/17 Udaipur World Music Festival (Udaipur, IND)
20/01/17 Ferme du Biéreau (Louvain-La-Neuve , BE)
10/12/16 Cultuurcentrum Termonde (Termonde , BE)
09/12/16 Le Petit Théâtre de la Grande Vie (Forzée, BE)
02/12/16 Café du Parc (Liège, BE)
20/11/16 C-Mine (Genk, BE)
12/11/16 Maison des Cultures et de la Cohésion Sociale (Molenbeek, BE)
11/11/16 Espace Prévert (Paris , FR )
10/11/16 Théâtre du Pédiluve (Paris , FR)
19/10/16 Le Rideau Rouge (Lasnes, BE)
15/10/16 Müpa (Budapest , HU)
14/10/16 Salam Orient : Porgy and Bess (Vienne, AUT)
01/10/16 Rumi Fest (Riga, LV)
11/09/16 Festival de Wallonie (Abbaye de Villers-la-Ville, BE)
04/09/16 Rasa (Utrecht, NL)
31/07/16 Sfinks Festival (Anvers , BE)
26/07/16 Sines Festival ( PT)
17/06/16 Ethno Port Poznan Festival ( PL)
12/06/16 Chudoscnik Sunergia (Eupen , BE)
05/06/16 Festival Parfums de Musiques (Roseraie départementale de l’Haÿ-les-Roses, FR)
22/05/16 Handelsbeurs (Gand , BE )
14/05/16 Haus der Religionen (Berne, CH)
12/05/16 Le Salon du Bleu Café (Neuchatel, CH)
23/04/16 Chapelle de Verre (Ronquières, BE)
19/03/16 Babel Med Music Festival (Marseille, FR)
07/02/16 National Kaunas Drama Theatre ( LT)
06/02/16 Šv. Kotrynos bažnyčia (Vilnius,, LT)
03/02/16 Festival ProPulse,Botanique,accès réservé aux professionnels (Bruxelles , BE)
22/01/16 Centre Culturel La Vénerie (Watermael-Boitsfort, BE)
15/01/16 Cultuurcentrum Ter Vesten (Beveren , BE )
13/01/16 De Roma (Anvers , BE )
12/12/15 Ferme de la Dîme (Wasseiges, BE)
11/12/15 Centre Culturel Ottignies Louvain-La-Neuve with the pianist Laurence (Ottignies, BE )
06/12/15 t Ey (Belsele, BE )
04/12/15 La Villa Centre Culturel (Ganshoren, BE)
04/12/15 PointCulture (Louvain-La-Neuve , BE )
29/11/15 Vardan Hovanissian Solo at Centre Culturel de Braine-le-Comte (Braine-le-Comte, BE )
18/11/15 Bozar (Bruxelles , BE )
08/11/15 Rasa (Utrecht, NL)
16/10/15 Bozar (Klara , Happy Hour)
10/10/15 Médiathèque Le Phare (Bruxelles , BE)
27/09/15 Vredesweek (Hengelo, NL)
26/09/15 Festival de Oriënt (Deventer, NL )
12/09/15 Université de Maastricht (Maastricht, NL )
23/08/15 Festival d’Art de Huy (Huy , BE )
21/06/15 Houtfestival (Haarlem, NL )
23/05/15 Festival Goûts de Gand, Sint-Baafsabdij (Gand , BE )
09/05/15 Halle du Bouillon Blanc (Bouillon, BE )
17/04/15 Muziekpublique (Théâtre Molière, , Bruxelles )
11/02/15 Point Culture de l’Université Libre de Bruxelles (Bruxelles , BE )


Booking belgium & international


Lynn Dewitte EN/FR – lynn@muziekpublique.be

Louise Janssens NL – louise@muziekpublique.be

General contact: label@muziekpublique.be

Tel: +32 2 217 2600

Booking France

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+33 (0)6 63 08 18 90


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