An ashik performing with a saz lute at a coffee house in Kars, Turkey, 1982

27_Ashik-Cobanoglu

Sufi poet-musicians, called ashiks, are troubadours who have deep roots in eastern Turkey and surrounding areas. Performing at wedding and circumcision ceremonies, and staging poetry duels in coffee houses, ashiks improvise songs, sometimes for fun and sometimes dealing freely with sensitive subjects like politics.