Arkın Ilıcalı was born in Bursa in 1966. Better known as Mercan Dede, also known as DJ Arkın Allen is a Turkish composer, Ney and Bendir player, DJ and producer. He graduated in media studies from Istanbul University, and then moved to Canada as an art teacher, specializing in marbling, (ebru). The Mercan Dede Ensemble was founded in 1997, by which time Arkın had been working as a musician for some years, and their first album was Sufi Dreams in 1998, the profile of which was boosted when the music was used in a German television documentary on Sufi music. The sound of Mercan Dede incorporates traditional instruments from Turkey and other parts of the world, with horns, drum′n′bass dance beats, ambient electronic music and Sufi spirituality. The music is all composed by Dede, some of it very rhythmic, while other pieces are ambient and new-ageish. With a bright red mohican hairstyle and traditional Sufi robes, Dede′s appearance also communicates the blended aesthetics that his music is trying to achieve. He has worked in collaboration with Turkish and international musicians such as Aynur Doğan (folk singer), Azam Ali (singer), Ben Grossman (Hurdy Gurdy player), Ceza (urban poet and rapper), Dhafer Youssef (vocalist), Fazıl Say (pianist), Göksel Baktagir (kanun player), Hugh Marsh (violinist), Hüsnü Şenlendirci (clarinet player), İlhan Erşahin (saxophonist), Özcan Deniz (Arabesque singer), Peter Murphy (pop musician), Sheema Mukherjee (Transglobal Underground) and Susheela Raman (vocalist).
Sufi Dreams (Golden Horn 1998).
Journeys of a Dervish (Golden Horn 1999).
Seyahatname (Doublemoon 2001).
Nar (Doublemoon 2002).
Fusion Monster (Numoon 2004) as DJ Arkın Allen.
Su (Doublemoon 2003).
Sufi Traveler (High Times 2004).
Nefes (Doublemoon 2007).
800 (Doublemoon 2007).