Hatay’s reeds used in making neys

Hatay’s reeds used in making neys

Hatay’s reeds used in making neys

Reeds grown in the Samandağ district of Turkey’s southernmost province of Hatay are dried for a year before being used in the making of the ney, a flute used mostly in Sufi mystical music

The ney, also an integral part of Ottoman classical music, is unlike the clean sound of the Western flute; it makes earthly sounds that it gets from the reeds.

 Cemil Kahiloğulları, a local of Hatay, carefully picks the best reeds to make and design the instrument, a profession he has been doing for many years. 

According to Kahiloğulları, reeds harvested in the district are of high quality, but the most difficult part of the job is to pick the best ones to make sonorous ney flutes. 

They grow in their natural environment and are collected carefully before being stacked in workshops in accordance of their sizes and are left to dry, according to him. 

After one year, Kahiloğulları punches holes in the reeds and puts the finishing touches. 

Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, Kahiloğulları, who is also a ney player, said his interest in the instrument grew during his compulsory military service 40 years ago. 

“I have been making, selling and playing the ney for 15 years. The world’s most precious reeds are grown in Samandağ. Due to their quality and the suitability of their stems, these reeds are preferred in the production of ney. But not every reed can be used in the production of the ney, if that was the case, then the ney would have no value. That’s why I carefully pick the reeds I choose from the reed beds and bring them to my studio, where I leave them for a year to dry,” he said. 

He said the reeds are kept in oil to maximize the sound of the flute and increase its durability. 

“When holes are made by burning the neys, it shortens the life of the instrument. This is why I carve holes in the neys. The neys are made after meticulous efforts. Samandağ is known worldwide for growing high-quality reeds. Knowing this, the ney players demand these instruments from Hatay. I sell the neys I make in my studio on the internet. So far, I have sent the neys to the U.S., Italy, Germany, Spain, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Scotland, Norway, Sweden and Egypt. They receive great interest and it makes me very happy,” Kahiloğulları said. 

He said he also gives lessons to new ney players, adding, “Ney lovers come to my studio from many parts of the world. I also send neys to university students. I will do my best to maintain this art.” 

After the year-long wait for the reeds to dry, Kahiloğulları makes a ney in one day. Their prices range from 100 to 3,000 Turkish Liras.