Sanem Kalfa is a Turkish singer with a distinctive style, mixing jazz, improvisation, and world music into a powerful blend of emotions. After studying cello, she moved from Turkey to the Netherlands to study singing. During her studies she won several awards, including the 1st Prize Shure Montreux Jazz Vocal Competition presided by Quincy Jones. In 2014 she released her debut album “Nehir”. She released her second album “DANCE” as a duo with George Dumitriu in May 2018. Her last album with George Dumitriu and Joachim Badenhorst “Blacksea Songs” will be released by El Negocito Records in Jazz 2020.”

Sanem kalfa was born in Trabzon, a city on the Black Sea coast of northeast Turkey. Black sea is the call of green and people from this region are full of humor and deeply dedicated to earth. Emotional swings go hand in hand with the waves of the Black sea.

Sanem is currently based in Amsterdam, performing worldwide and pleased to teach music to students (from any age and background). Her main aim is to be a part of an experience that will help enriching life by music.


“Sanem Kalfa is a singer who dares to do anything with her voice, is a brutal stage personality and supports her vocal antics…”

Jazznu, Rinus Van Der Heijden

“She is a vocalist with a broadly developed voice and has spectacular singing and vocal techniques….”

Jazzflits, Roland Huguenin

“With effortess grace, she straddles the borders between jazz and the music of her native Turkey”

Journalofmusic, Ireland

“… the most convincing testimony to the power of the musical voice ….”

All About Jazz, Jakob Baekgaard

“While many young jazz vocalists linger in the Great American Songbook or Scandinavian fjord music, Kalfa opts for a completely original and innovative approach”

Jazzenzo, Cyriel Pluimakers

“Enormous range, flawless in all registers and volumes, sophisticated microphone technology and also acoustically filling the room. And incredibly creative and theatrical.”

Draai om je horen, Eddy Determeyer

“Kalfa opened up completely from the first note and sang from her soul. No matter how small the line-up, a wall of sound and emotion came towards the listeners… Her sensitive way of singing easily broke the language barrier during songs with Turkish poetry lyrics.”

Armand van Wijk

“In everysong, Sanem Kalfa seemed to be addressing each member of the audience personally, whether expressing anguish, joy, humour, light-heartedness, love or sadness…”

Jazzwise, Robert Beard

“It would be nice if an uncompromising female singer would break through for a change”

Jazzism, Ken Vos

“Kalfa’s voice knows how to move and seduce, but sometimes you also get a little afraid of her.”

Jazzflits, Herman te Loo

“Working in a quite naked manner with voice and one acoustic instrument, every small detail counts and tells, determining tinges and timing, blossoming and flow, vibe and touch, fly and linger.”

All About Jazz, Henning Bolte

“Virtuosity combined with extreme dynamics and expression. Complex music that becomes accessible to everyone thanks to the breath taking performance… “-

Peter Bruyn, Haarlems Dagblad

“Sanem Kalfa creates an impressive world of stories and wonder with her improvisations and her interpretations… She creates her own vocal vocabulary… a vocalist with a clear signature of her own, with music like an adventurous winding river, sparkling and atmospheric, panoramic and poetic”

Jazzflits, Frank Huzer

“Sanem Kalfa brought her own folk muzic into the band, creating a fine and for many new sound in music…”

Jazznyttred, Norway

“Turkish singer Sanem Kalfa threatens to steal a show with her melancolic, dramatic vocal that haunts the instrumentation and holds the whole proposal together”

Irish Times, Ireland

“This was contemporary music making with the stunning vocals of Sanem Kalfa finessing their already intoxicating brew with a beguiling approach that found common ground between plaintive folk and excitable jazz harmonies”

Jazzwise Magazine, UK