Derya Yıldırım & Grup Şimşek

Grup Şimşek is a fresh and modern super-quartett which performs an electrified and highly danceable set of music from Turkey. It combines Anatolian folk and modern grooves, often contaminated by hints of pychedelia, jazz and funk. Led by Derya Yıldırım’s hypnotizing saz and vocals, Grup Şimşek deliver their own interpretation of Turkish jewels (by artists such as Selda Bağcan, Mahzuni Şerif, Özdemir Erdoğan), but also draw their originality from beautiful compositions and a fantastic ability in improvising.


1: Freedom.

2: Music.

3: Ungehorsam, don’t know the English word.


1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Derya: My biggest inspiration is my life, the relationshsip between the persons I met in my life, the thoughts and the interactions from and with them.

2. How and when did you get into making music?
Derya & Axel: Although we had all been playing music beforehand in different ways and for different projects, we met in Hamburg 2014 for a project ‘NEW HAMBURG’. Derya is from Hamburg and the invited musicians, Antonin Voyant, Graham Mushnik and Greta Eacott basically had to collaborte with Derya for that project. Thats how we got togehter. The whole idea came from our friend Sebastian Reier aka Booty Carrell, who knew all of us and had a great intuition about us creating music together. When the project was over, we kept meeting and playing here and there because it felt natural to do so… slowly slowly we became a band… and now we came to this point!

3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
D: Uzun Havalar by Anadol
A: Sivrisinek Saz Ve Caz Topluluğu by Özdemir Erdogan and Yes We Can by Lee Dorsey

4. What do you associate with Berlin?
D: A big city, bigger than Hamburg. A city where you can create and be yourself. Get inspired by people around you. Meet people from a certain society…

5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
D: I still dont have a favourite place. I feel sometimes like going to the Park at Schönleinstraße.

6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
D: I dont know. Can’t really think about a life without music. I probably would be a social worker and help people around my neighborhood.

7. What was the last record/music you bought?
D: Can’t remember. I actually never buy records… really rare. The last record I got as a present was a 7 inch from TÜLAY – Gel Artik / Niye cattin Kaslarini.
A: ‘Emana Ei Torka’ by Nikolas: an interesting pop album by Greek artist Nikolas performing Greek and Turkish songs on an Israeli label.

8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
D: Don’t know yet.

9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
D: Few weeks ago in Hamburg – Knust. It was amazing, the vibes and the crowd. It felt so right to be there and playing for your audience for your hometown!

10. How important is technology to your creative process?
D: It is important, but not so much of me. I create my music very simple with my instrument and have thoughts in my mind for arrangements. I like to read notes and pieces I have to play for other more classical music project with my IPad haha. I like to idea of a page flipper!
A: Technology is always part of the process… but it doesn’t really influence the artistic side of things, except maybe in terms of amplified or electronic sounds… we would still be able to create and develop our music, if technology was very limited or super developed… it’s not so relevant somehow!

11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
D: Weird question for me. I have siblings yes, but this topic is or was never a thing. We are just all proud of each other and supporting each other as much as we can. They play also music and are great in it!

Derya Yıldırım & Grup Şimşek perform at Gretchen on Thursday, 14th November 2019!

Photo © Laurent Orseau