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Our Canvas: With Singer and Musician Dilzat Turdi

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

Born in Karamay, Dilzat Turdi is the youngest singer for the Uyghur European Ensemble, which plays in concerts across Europe as well as online for listeners to enjoy in remote locations worldwide. Currently based in London, Dilzat Turdi is studying Music Sound & Technology at City University of London. He is also learning the dutar, which he had played at events such the 'In Honour of Uyghur' cultural event at SOAS university.

'Yoshurmigin Siringni', a cover by Dilzat Turdi Abdulla Abdurehim is one of Dilzat's main musical inspirations, and as a child began training his voice by following Abdurehim's discography. This song is from Abdurehim's 1995 ‘Sherin Chush’ album. He is dedicated to sharing Uyghur music to wider audiences, and creating atmospheres where people can resonate with forgotten parts of themselves through music.

This is a cover of the piece originally performed by Eziz Mamut. Dilzat was surrounded by musicians while growing up in Karamay. His grandfather could play many instruments, and gatherings for playing traditional songs was a pillar of family life. While there is less opportunity for joyful sharing of music in the UK, Dilzat Turdi still finds opportunities to sing and play the dutar at friends' weddings. This was where he first met Muhtar Abdukerim Janbaz, the founder of the Uyghur European Ensemble. Uyghur European Ensemble is a cultural artistic and music group that established in 2019 by a group of diaspora Uyghur folk artists and musicians from Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, France, England and Belgium.

The Ensemble currently focusses on maintaining Uyghur culture traditions in western countries, conduct public performances or shows of Uyghur folk music, particularly the 12 Muqam folk repertoire. But the Ensemble is also dedicated to keeping endangered Uyghur culture alive and pass it on the future generations, so they are collecting and conducting research on the Uyghur music and lyrics prohibited by the Government of China. In future, the Uyghur European Ensemble plans to arrange Uyghur music courses for Uyghur children living in the diaspora.

'Yultuzum Aldimda' a cover by Dilzat Turdi Dilzat has covered a few of Abdulla Abdurehim's pieces. Dilzat is planning to release his own music in future, so is working to understand where his own voice and style will fit on the musical landscape. He sometimes collaborates with his younger brother, a developing guitar player, to experiment with new sounds.

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