A mother gave birth to a baby boy on a summertime Friday night in Istanbul almost 31-years ago (and counting). Later known as Ali, he was raised in the same fascinating city. Despite the education system's plastic flute torture under the name of early age musical education, he insisted on being interested in musical instruments. The interest was more on the side of discovering how they worked rather than how to play like every other kid. Among the instruments he dissected were a late 70's Gibson Acoustic LG clone guitar (sorry uncle), and a vintage 32-keys Hohner Student Melodica. After the incidents, he was found more suitable for a musical discipline where the instrument could not be dissected easily-- singing. He started singing in a school choir at the fifth grade until he found another one at seventh grade. He had to wait until early 90s to get another guitar, an Admira Juanita, only to be used gently for scholarly purposes. Around the same time, he started singing bass partitions in his university choir, ITU Polyphonic. Though an evident baritone, he must have got along with SATB scoring well enough, he started making appearances for IU Polyphonic Choir as well as ITU TMDK Choir (ITU State Conservatory of Turkish Music Choir), as they studied under the direction of Prof. Ozturk. He kept on playing more enthusiastically after getting his first Strat guitar along with an effect processor. He had a group of jamming friends to perform as they liked, whenever they wanted to. For seven years he sang with the choirs and his friends, and he was fortunate enough to be on the stage at premier Istanbul venues, such as AKM, CRR, as well as numerous university concert halls. He even performed in ITU TMDK's 'Yunus Emre Musical', likely due to a combination of administrative errors and lack of baritones.

After a couple of years without any serious musical performance, he met Ceyhun in 2007 and along with Anil and Akin, they started istavrit (a.k.a istavritistanbul) for the fun of it. With new additions to the band, Pablo and Yagiz, he is enjoying the band very much. He is singing most of the repertoire and playing his guitar in istavritistanbul. Like some other members of the band, he is thankful to be an ABD, soon-to-be a PhD. He is married and a proud father of a 'baglama' (kisa sap cogur sazi), cumbus (an oud variant), as well as a few guitars and a room full of various sound reinforcement equipment, about which his wife is not happy.

  Anil was born in Adana, Turkey, on July 1st, 1979. His family moved from Adana when he was 1 year old and he lived, in chronological order, in Konya, Aliaga, Bandirma, Samsun, Edirne, Eskisehir and Bursa, but always loved Istanbul, where he used to visit frequently and spent all his undergrad and M.S. studies at Bogazici University's Civil Engineering Department. He deeply loved Istanbul, to the point of memorizing each and every one of the poems about her. When he was asked "where are you originally from?", he started with "my parents are from Ordu but..." and, taking advantage of his nomadic past, picked one of the cities he lived in, whichever the person asking would like to hear the most. Then he moved to the U.S... Considering that no one would like to hear a long nomad story from a stranger -and even if he/she listened to the whole story, who would know all those cities across the Atlantic and Europe?- he started responding "I'm from Istanbul", and he is happy with it.

His interest in music emerged during middle school when he started learning classical guitar; then he switched to acoustic guitar with enthusiasm. He played guitar in various beaches in Turkey. Due to his love for traditional Turkish music, he attempted to learn playing saz, however his love was one-sided, just like his platonic affairs with kemane, ney, oud, trumpet, keyboard and drums. But his true love is bass, which he started at his freshman year in university, and still holds on to it.

His first stage experience was playing acoustic guitar at Bogazici University's Music Club rock choir performance, but found the happiness with his band "Mavi Sesler", of which he was a member for 6 years. They played in several universities in Turkey (Bogazici, METU, Mimar Sinan, ITU, etc.); however, his passion for academia put him apart from Istanbul and his band. He desperately looked for a band to join when he set foot on U.S. soil, but could only find a disappointing experience of 6 months with a band, and from time to time some nice but short-lived jam sessions with friends around. Then the happiness came very unexpectedly when he lost all his hope: Istavrit! He has been playing with Istavrit as a founding member for 1.5 years and meanwhile trying to wrap up his Ph.D. dissertation to end his grad school agony.


Akin was born in Trabzon, the pearl city of the Black Sea, in 1978. He moved to Istanbul when he was 6 months old and spent his life in this gorgeous city until he was 26. He took keyboard lessons when he was 7 years old but decided to switch to the guitar and started to take lessons when he was 15. He loved playing guitar until he sat at a drum set in his high school music club and finally settled with drums. He played in bands in high school and college as rhythm guitarist, bassist, and drummer.

In 2004, after he moved to the United States, he met Ceyhun in New Brunswick, NJ at a party. They talked about their similar interests in music and maybe forming a rock band. This idea didn’t come to reality until he got a call from Ceyhun one day in 2008. Akin found himself as a founding member of the band which would later be called Istavrit. Surrounded by the other talented members of the group, he started taking drum lessons after the age of 30 in efforts to continually improve his skills. He loves playing his heart out and is thankful to be in the company of a great group of musicians he considers close friends.


Pablo was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He always loved music very much, and so he decided to play the piano at age 11. Loyal to his usual timelines, he got a keyboard and began to take piano lessons when he was 13. He mostly played classical and jazz, but his favorite musicians were Fito Páez, Charly García and The Beatles, and when he was 15 he joined a rock band that played generic rock covers. At 16, he co-formed a Beatles cover band called "The Beatless", "Yer Blues" and finally "No Reply". At age 18 he moved to the USA and began playing guitar and piano with many college groups, often including his brother, his girlfriend and his friend César. Finally, at age 23 he decided that joining a stable band would be a good idea and hence he arrived at Istavrit Istanbul, motivated by his love of Turkish food, music and culture in general. In parallel, he used to perform Argentine rock and tango with a band named Payo Kundsen y sus Malevos.

  Yagiz was born in Izmir, many many years back. Since then, he wonders why he is here and tries to do many different things to figure out the answer. Playing with Istavrit helps him to relax and forget that question along with the fact that he will die someday.