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Last week we encountered the musical sensation that is Turkish psychedelic band Ayyuka, at its concert in Bodrum. The group has an amazing knack for improvising at its unplugged concerts and picking up on the catchiness of cult Turkish songs (such as those by Erkin Koray, Baris Manco, and Orhan Gencebay) and covering them with a futuristic sound.

Ayyuka creates its passionate, exquisitely rich, and diverse music with improvised harmonies. The sound is super-authentic, but with a universal familiarity, fusing elements from a variety of genres such as Anatolian rock, arabesque, surf rock, punk, spaghetti Western, psychedelic rock, and funk.

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You know when you are at a concert and you really get into an ecstatic groove? You’ll find that at Ayyuka’s shows. The group has created and elevated different emotions with each song it performs: very genuine, mysterious, and deeply touching. I will paraphrase Giorgio Moroder and define the music as the sound of the new Turkish subculture! I think Ayyuka is one of the top live bands in Istanbul today.

Ayyuka was formed in 2001 by Özgür Yilmaz, Altan Sebüktekin, Ahmet Kul, and Alican Tezer. Since releasing its
self-titled debut album, the band has performed at various music festivals and venues in a number of cities, including Istanbul, Berlin, and São Paulo. It’s opened for some major artists, such as Jonathan Richman, R.E.M, Sonic Youth, and Neil Young, and just released its second studio album, Kiraci Odalari. Currently, the band is recording improvisational sessions at its studio for an upcoming LP. I would highly recommend seeing Ayyuka live if you have the opportunity!

For more information, visit or visit the band’s SoundCloud page.

Photos: Ozan Aktuna

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