Atelier Defjen

Atelier Defjen, from Tarık Aslan, was a series of free, physically distanced workshop sessions in Mardin, Turkey, aimed at children and teenagers from Mardin and its surrounding areas. The 3-day rhythm workshop was centered around the ancient def/erbane drum, with sessions exploring the instrument’s unique history, how to build and play it, and touching on basic Erbane forms and notes, metronome, skills, and repertoire. Provided in collaboration with RET International, an independent nonprofit focused on bringing a diversity of youth programs, there was an additional workshop with RET Youth Orchestra and a small culminating concert with performances from the RET Youth Orchestra & Choir, and an erbane solo performance from Tarık. There was enthusiastic participation from all genders, and the workshops provided a sense of connection and community during a particularly precarious period in the pandemic.

Videos from the workshops can be found on RET’s facebook page.


Tarık Aslan is an Istanbul-based drummer and percussionist. Studying at the Pera School of Fine Arts, Tarık was inspired by his Kurdish heritage to take up the daf drum, developing into a master player and instrument builder. Tarık is the founding member of Orta’k’ Doğu, a multifaceted performance group and cultural organization which produces events promoting unity among disparate cultural and ethnic groups throughout the Middle East. He also plays with numerous renowned ensembles including DefJen, a funk and world-music based band, and Nusaibin, a hybrid folk and electronic project.