Born in Istanbul in a modest family, whose civil servant father was passionate about music and painting, Senem Diyici sings from an early age. At the age of 6, she joined the children’s choir of the national radio TRT, then at 14, she began to study Ottoman classical music at the Istanbul Musiki Cemiyeti school with the master Feridun Darbaz and also took singing lessons with Ruhi Su. She became a professional singer when she was only 16 years old and recorded her first two records, 45 rpm: Nar Hanim Gül Hanim (under the name of Fato for the label Ezgi Plaklari, in 1969) and Ham Meyva (under the name of Senem for the label Yanki, in 1973). After several years of concerts and travels all over Turkey where she has immersed herself in musical traditions, she leaves her city and her country on the occasion of a tour of Germany.
We are at the very beginning of the 1980s and the young artist will start from scratch and relaunch her career as a musician, singer and percussionist by settling in France. She formed a trio with which she recorded arrangements of traditional Turkish and some first collective compositions (Anadolu, K7, Exile label 1983). The producer and radio man Patrick Tandin discovered her and allowed her to release in 1989 her first album, Takalar (label La Lichère, Choc du Monde de la Musique, 4 stars Jazzman, Sélection Jazz Hot), recorded with her sextet of the period and on which she invited the percussionist Okay Temiz. At the album’s release concert, Turkish Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit and his wife Rahşan were among the guests of honor. Indeed, also a poet, Bülent Ecevit was the author of the text of the song Takalar.
The French public and the press discovered the synthesis of jazz-rock and traditional Turkish music produced by Senem Diyici and guitarist-composer- arranger Alain Blesing. 6 albums have followed, mainly recorded in quartet: Geste (Wad Production, 1993; Shock of the year Jazzman, Nomination “Django d’or 1994”, ffff and Event of the year Télérama); Divân (Artalent, 1995, 4 stars Jazzmann ); Tell Me Trabizon (Buda Musique, 1999; Record of emotion Jazz Magazine, 4 stars Jazzman, FIP Selection, World European Charts Ranking, Traditional record of the year Spedidam); Morceaux Choisis (Buda Musique, 2001; 4 stars Jazzman ), ZIPÇIKTI in duo with percussionist and electro performer Lari Dilmen (Ada Müzik, 2003); Live! (Buda Musique, 2005, Choc du Monde de la Musique, 4 Etoiles Jazzman) and a DVD: Senem Diyici Quartet Live at Satellit Café – Paris, WMP / Buda Musique, 2007) as well as a compilation of all of his albums.
In September 1999, she initiated a collective concert at the New Morning in Paris to come to the aid of the victims of the earthquake which struck Turkey a few weeks earlier. The French jazz scene massively responded to her call by participating in this concert: Aldo Romano, Henri Texier, Glenn Ferris, Franck Tortiller, Tony Rabeson, Laurent Dehors and many others
Closing this period of studio sessions and international tours (over 1500 concerts) the album Dila Dila was released in 2011 (Baykuş Müzik / Instant Music Records). It was recorded in Istanbul, where Senem Diyici returned to settle soon after. Besides her own albums, Senem Diyici has participated in many musical, traditional, classical or experimental projects. She performed with different bands: duet, trio (Lyricism, Mistic), quartet (Oynak, Mavi Yol), sextet, octet (the Octobando fanfare). Alongside her career as a performing artist recognized as a pioneer of alternative jazz and world music, Senem Diyici very early on developed an educational activity, multiplying masterclasses and workshops: initiation of children to the rhythm; breathing and vocal techniques; songs and dances of shamanic cultural traditions.
In the ten years since the Dila Dila album, Senem Diyici has, as she says herself, cultivated her garden, led multiple workshops and played with many Turkish musicians. She also left the project for a new album, entitled Nara, to mature, which was released on May 27, 2022 on the ADA Müzik label.