Istanbul Retreat Info

Merhaba!  Here is some useful information about the Darbuka Retreats in Istanbul. Bunyamin and I are very excited to meet all of you and to play together!


Orientation Meeting and Dinner on the First Night

You will get an email about when and where a week before.


Darbuka Ofis 20 Bekar Sokak (just a few streets from Taksim Square)

Raquy’s Phone Number in Istanbul


Getting from Airport

There is a bus right outside the airport that leaves frequently and for 10 lira takes you to Taksim Square which is walking distance from the workshop and all the hotels I recommended.

If you have a lot of luggage you might want to take a cab for about 40 lira.  The cabs are metered.


Classes and Schedule

There will be two classes per day every day except one free day.

 Composition Class w Raquy 12:30 - 3:00

The composition includes all of the latest techniques we are learning so it’s a great excuse to practice the techniques.  The B part is the same as the A part but without the fast rolls.  We will figure out who is in what group at the first meeting.  I will e-mail you the composition in the next few days so you can start working on it!

 Bunyamin’s Technique Class 5:00 - 7:30

The first part of the class will be slow, for the people who are new to the technique or who need a review of the slow hits (even I like to review the slow hits sometime!)

The second hour and a half of the class is for the advanced students, but everybody is welcome to sit in and watch, and sometimes there will be a slower part to hold down under the fast stuff.

Getting a Clay Dumbek

There are some great clay drums for sale at the studio!

Private Lessons

I highly recommend taking at least one private with Bunyamin!  He will fix your hand position!  A private lesson with Bunyamin is $100 for 1.5 hours and usually work the best during the free day.  Book in advanced because there are not many slots available.


What to Bring

  • Dumbek
  • Notebek
  • Metronome
  • Nice clothes for performance
  • Recording or video device


I have not had much luck bringing an unlocked phone to Turkey.  They make you register it and it takes like a week, so there is really no point.  You can rent a Turkish phone or just go unplugged for the week.


Americans can get a 3 month visa to Turkey right at the airport for $20.  Other nationalities should make inquiries.


Turkish Phrase Book

You will encounter people who speak no English, so a simple phrase book will come in handy


It will be nice.  You will need a jacket or sweater at night.


There are great vegeterian and non vegeterian options in Istanbul.  You can get a wonderful meal anywhere from $4 and up.   I’ll recommend some places in the orientation meeting.

Nobody drinks the tap water, for some reason – only drink bottled water.






Where to Stay

Stay in a House

I just discovered an incredible website called  You can find a house or a room in a house.  Just make sure the place is near Taksim or Tunel when you contact the landlord.


Stay in a Hotel

There are tons of hotels all around the area of the workshop, but here are three that I recommend:


Low Budget options

Hotel Kaya

30 lira a night (like $20)

If money is an issue, take this one.  It was recommended to me by Emin (from Emin Percussion).  I checked out the rooms – small and nothing fancy but clean.  Two minutes from the workshop

No website. 212-249-2285


Taksim Lounge Hostel

Katip Mustafa Celebi Mah.Mucadele Cikmazi No:5 Taksim, Beyoglu, 34433 Istanbul

50 lira a night (like $30)


Saydam Hotel

Simple and clean and considerably nicer than Hotel Kaya.  I’d pay the extra $10 and go for this one.  The rooms are not so big but pretty nice.  A ten minute walk from the workshop on a very nice lively street.


Medium Budget

Dora Otel

45 euros a night or 60 euros for a double room (like $60 for one, 80 for two)

This is  a beautiful sweet hotel –nice, spacious comfortable rooms in a classy quaint building with nice staff.   And its around the corner from the workshop!   If you can afford it,  take this one, even if you have to pair up with someone else and share.  It’s by far the nicest hotel I saw in the area.



Cancelation Policy:
If you need to cancel after you register there are two choices:
1)  Get the whole amount as credit towards a future retreat or seminar
2) Get a refund of the amount less $80 registration fee