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Semih Arıkan was born in Ankara, but received his primary and secondary education in Adapazarı. In 1974 he went to Istanbul, where he studied Turkish music at the Besiktas Music Academy. He was a student of Ruhi Su. In Kadikoy he directed the municipal choir. He also graduated from the 4-year musical college of Marmara University. From 1970 onward, the year of his graduation, he worked at the Sakarya private high school as a music teacher and deputy-director.

In 1983 he came to the Netherlands for further studies, but also to teach music to Turkish and Dutch students at music schools in Rotterdam (SKVR), Vlaardingen, Breda, Leiden, Amersfoort, IJmuiden, and Den Haag. At the Rotterdam Conservatoire he studied school music. In Utrecht (LOKV) he obtained his teaching license for world music and Turkish music for children. More and more he focused on musical education. In collaboration with the education department of Amersfoort City Council, he prepared a music book with supporting CDs for primary school children in 1988. After that he developed teaching material in collaboration with the concert- en congress centre De Doelen for teaching music in secondary schools.

In 2000, he wrote an information book on Turkish music in collaboration with the Foundation “Centrale Discotheek Rotterdam”. In the same year he did five concerts “Songs from Kirkuk” with the art foundation Kulsan in the Netherlands and Belgium. In 2001, he gave 20 concerts on bağlama (a Turkish instrument that is also known as saz) with the Amsterdamse Promenade Orkest, something quite new in the Netherlands. Another first was the Turkish week at the Rotterdam Conservatoire. In the same period he gave concerts with a large childrens choir. In The Hague he accompanied a choir of Turkish teachers for two years and also did concerts with them. Moreover, he played for two years with the band “SET”, which was started specifically for playing polyphonic Turkish music.

Arıkan not only works in Turkish music but also studied the Turkish language in depth. At HRNO he took a four-year course to become a second-degree teacher in Turkish. His thesis was on ´Turkish music in the Netherlands´. He also followed a one-year application course on Turkish at the Thomas Moore Academy to obtain his license for primary school. For ten years, he taught Turkish language and culture at primary schools in the districts Charlois and Hoogvliet of Rotterdam.

Currently, he works as a music teacher in the Koorenhuis in The Hague and writes an exercise book for bağlama. Semih Arıkan plays a wide repertoire and is able to play different kinds of Turkish music with great enthusiasm. He is active as a singer and accompanies himself on ut, violin, baglama, tar, and the piano. In addition he plays western and world music with the talented members of the group Misket.

Semih Arıkan and his band Misket are ever in high demand for performances at different occasions, including weddings, feasts, and festivals.