A Turkish band with a Hungarian heart – Meet the Nasip Kısmet


  • Urbán Cintia

31/05/2023 6.17pm

First, a fun fact: the band’s name comes from a Turkish phrase, which translates to 'accepting fate and destiny'. And we are pretty sure it was fate that brought two rising stars from Ankara to Budapest, where they met for the first time and soon formed Nasip Kısmet. Their music is pretty diverse: they play Turkish psychedelic folk music from the '70s and '80s, jazzed up with, well, jazz and improvisation. They are vibrant and make everyone dance in the room. Now, right before their upcoming concert at Turbina, they tell us about their music, life in Budapest, and their favourite spots in the city.

Meet the band!

Nasip Kısmet is a part-Turkish, part-Hungarian musical group based in Budapest. Despite the Turkish musical roots and lyrics, they consider themselves a Hungarian band. Why? Because it all started here.

Photo: Alec Macias

First, Derya Ocak (back vocals) moved to the Hungarian capital for her studies, and then his brother, Arif Erdem Ocak followed. He had already been famous in Turkey as the founder and guitarist of Seksendört but decided to look for new challenges in Hungary. He started playing ancient Anatolian folk music on his guitar, which the audience loved. So Arif stayed, and, call it fate or 'kismet', he met another Turkish rising star, jazz drummer Cem Aksel. The rest is history: soon, saxophone player Dániel Mester and bass player Márton Eged joined them, and Nasip Kısmet was formed. Later on, due to Covid, Cem Aksel had to go back to Turkey, and new members arrived: Dávid Szegő (drums) Tomi Smuk (percussion),  and Arif’s sister Derya. And the result?

There. You surely have caught the vibe by now, and see why we are keen to introduce you to this exciting and vibrant fusion of a band. Each Nasip Kısmet concert is a journey between ancient Anatolian melodies and rhythms and contemporary Western tunes. And dancing is always involved. They say, even if someone is determined not to dance, they will.

Photo: Cedric Af Geijersstam

How is life as an expat in Budapest?

We love love love Budapest. But we do not consider ourselves expats here. Budapest is our home. And we consider Nasip Kısmet an 'igazi Budapesti zenekar' (real Budapest band). The majority of the band members are Hungarians. The language of the music is Turkish. But our original songs or melodies are created in Budapest with an influence of Anatolian sounds and rhythms. We are representing the musical diversity of the country.

Photo: Cedric Af Geijersstam

What is your impression of Hungarians?

We are surrounded by a multinational group of friends and colleagues here. What we share in common is Budapest. Our general topic to discuss with Hungarian and non-Hungarian friends is usually the way we experience the city. And Budapest is not only paprika or pálinka. It's culture, art, history, creativity, and aesthetics. Also, as a musician, we find connecting and collaborating with other musicians much easier in Budapest. People are open and supportive if they see you are passionate and talented.

Photo: Cedric Af Geijersstam

Which are your favourite hangouts?

We love walking on the riverside and in the parks. Thank God Budapest is very green. We have an island in the middle of it! After living in the 7th district for years, we are now in a more peaceful part of the city. We love Bartók Béla út or the Palace District, surrounded by beautiful art galleries, cafes, pubs, and restaurants.

Photo: Alec Macias

Nasip Kısmet is next performing at Turbina on June 2nd, and you can still snag tickets here. They will then set off on a festival tour; see where to catch them this summer.

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