Istanbul Blues Company (Kumpanyasi)

Istanbul Blues Company (İstanbul Blues Kumpanyası in Turkish, or referred as IBC hereafter) is a blues band from Turkey. They're often referred as The Original Turkish Blues Band. They bring the blues sound to their national melodies, harvesting both to put together a unique and plausible sound.


IBC was found in October 1993, as the ever and the last "string band" oriented band of Turkey; by Sarp Keskiner (vocal, guitar, harmonica, mandolin, washtub bass, banjo, foamboard, shaker) and Salih Nazım Peker (vocal, mandolin, banjo, baglama), both being the band's founding and mentor members. The first album, "Roots" was released in 10 October 1996 (Ada Muzik). IBC enjoyed the vast repertoire of traditional blues of late 30's to late 50's; by covering many blues standards but always being keen to blend acoustic rural blues with a slight touch of Turkish baglama music's essential ingredients. Also in 1997, IBC turned out the be the main base for some vitalising folk-blues projects like Tuzlu Nehir (Salty River), Mama & Friends and Mardi Gras; on which each of them did perform tracks from masters like Blind Willie Johnson, Blind Blake, Fred McDowell, Mahalia Jackson, Leadbelly, etc...

During the "revival movement of Istanbul Underground" circa 1998-9, the band was a unique and leading voice in Turkish underground music community by addition of Orcun Basturk (vocals, drums, objects, gongs, bells) from Replikas, besides other bands like Baba ZulaNekropsi and Replikas; but modelling Alexis Korner's Blues Inc. to host various musicians without any hesitation to launch a "completely free line up" motto; as whomever did practice any kind of bluesgospelCajun,acousticelectronicacollective improvisation and Anatolian psychedelic rock were very welcome to the line up within Turkish boundaries; until their "farewell tour" in May 2000, just after releasing their second album "Sair Zamanlar (Other Times)" in 7 January 1999 by Doublemoon Records.

During 1997 - 2000; IBC line ups recruited numerous musicians, who'd later rule Turkish jazz, Latin, punk, blues, post rock or pop rock arenas, nationally or internationally; circa 2000 and 2010.

Some examples are featured on their latest and updated Myspace pages: [1] (circa 1997-8) [2] (circa 1998-2000)

Keskiner joined the first and last electric Chicago style blues band in Turkey in 1996; Moe Joe, which was founded by Vefa Karatay (bass) and Feramerz Ayadi (guitar) in 1994; also bringing names like İlhan Babaoglu (tenor and alto saxophone) and Tugrul Aray (harmonica, flute, tenor saxophone) from IBC's latest line up to Moe Joe's. After countless gigs and tours and festivals; since 1996, Moe Joe still runs the show as a quartet, but without Babaoglu and Aray. In 1999, Keskiner founded Kirika with Salih Peker and Orcun Basturk of IBC: [3] and he was the founder member - producer - composer of Saska (2000–2004): [4]

  • With IBC's debut album in 1996, Kökler, Keskiner has started his career as musical director and producer. He has thus far been a compositor, lyrics author, arranger and producer in following albums:

"Sweet Mother Nature's Child" (Chris Chavez, 1999), "Sair Zamanlar" (IBC, 1999) "Chicago Istanbul Mainline" (Moe Joe, 2000) "Sokkur Saska" (Saska, 2004): [5]"Yuri Skies" (Sarp KeskinerErdem HelvaciogluUmut CaglarOzun Usta, 2009: [6] "The Great Republic of Southernsides" (The Great Republic of Southernsides, 2010) Live recordings 2002-10

  • Vefa Karatay is a current member of Moe Joe: [7] and
  • Tugrul Aray is an optional member of; besides composing music for advertorials.
  • Orcun Basturk is the current and the founder member of Replikas & Kirika [disambiguation needed]; while being the founder member of ill fated Saska: [8]
  • Ozun Usta (congas, cabasa, bells) did record live with Moe Joe and IBC circa 2000-2002, as being the founder member of Tamburada (2004–6): [9]. Recently; he is hailed as an artist of [10] and he plays with Korhan Futaci & Kara Orkestra: [11]


  1. Kökler (10 October 1996, Ada Müzik)
  2. Sair Zamanlar (7 January 1999, Doublemoon, Keskiner)



  • Sarp Keskiner - Vocal, various guitars, harmonica, mandolin, banjo, electric guitar, washboard, spoons, keys, cans, clay bird flutes, shakers, tambourine, sticks
  • Salih Nazım Peker - Vocal, mandolin, banjo, acoustic saz, darbouka, acoustic guitar
  • Erke Erokay - Electric and acoustic guitars
  • Serkan Ayman - Drums and bells
  • Burak Guven & Oya Erkaya (Ayman) - Bass
  • Suna Suner - Vocals
  • İlhan Babaoglu - Alto saxophone, bass vocals
  • Erdem Tonguc - Farfisa organ, piano
  • Murat Ertel - Fx guitars (Blues Un Fidayda)
  • Feramerz Ayadi - Guitar solos (Sleepdeep Blues)
  • Ibrahim Yasar - Acoustic rhythm guitar (Pick A Bale Of Cotton)


  • Sarp Keskiner - Vocal, guitar, electric guitars, tambourine, kaval, harmonica
  • Salih Nazım Peker - Electric saz, acoustic saz, bouzouki, vocal
  • Vefa Karatay - Bass
  • Orçun Baştürk - Drums and bells, piano, conga, timbals
  • Tuğrul Aray - Harmonica, tenor saxophone, saxoflute, pipes, kaval
  • Ertan Tekin - Zurna, mey and cura mey (Biskotin, Izmir'e Donus, Kirik Hayatlar)