To look at Mavi Isiklar's history is to go for a walk in westernized Turkish popular music history. Filled with "firsts," Mavi Isiklar were musically and stylistically a groundbreaking band for Turkey, founded by brothers Cetin and Metin Yavuzdogan. The first lineup comprised Nejat Toksoy, Cihat Gunaydin, and Zamir Manisa. Taking their name from the peaceful and quiet color blue and their will to shine a light on the future generations (Mavi Isiklar means "Blue Lights"), the band started working on cover songs at the beginning. Taking on a very intense concert schedule, Mavi Isiklar quickly gathered a lot of support. After just a couple of months of playing together, they applied to the first-ever "Golden Microphone Contest." Out of 78 contestants, they were one of the ten finalists chosen by a jury of 80 music authorities. The finalists later played to crowds in Ankara, Adana, Izmir, and Istanbul and after the votes of the people, Mavi Isiklar came in second. This success at the very beginning of their career paved their way. Their winning song -- a Turkish folk tune arranged in a twist style -- "Helvaci Helva" was released as their first single by the Golden Microphone Contest in 1965.
Within a year, Mavi Isiklar were one of the most wanted bands in Turkey, appearing in films and playing in popular clubs. They were also voted the most popular band of 1965 by the readers of the Milliyet newspaper. The bandmembers also signed a legal contract between themselves which forced the band to change its leader every three months. This way, the band's future was never in the hands of one member, but rather every member had a say in critical decisions.
In 1966, they again took the second place in the Golden Microphone Song Contest. Again, their competition song "Cayir Cimen Geze Geze" was released as a single. A few months later, Zamir Manisa left the band to join the army for his mandatory military service and was replaced by Ayzer Danga. In September 1966, Mavi Isiklar signed a contract with Sayan and the first EP from the label, Ankara Isiklari, turned out to be one of their biggest hits. Before the end of that year, another EP, Ayva Cicek Acmis, was also released. They were again voted "Band of the Year" in 1966.
1967 saw the re-release of Cayir Cimen Geze Geze as an EP. Mavi Isiklar were receiving countless offers from all around the country. Their mixture of Turkish folk and Western rhythms combined with their outstanding live performance proved to be a big success. They changed their stage costumes rapidly and they once even put beds on the stage and played with their pajamas on. The rest of the '60s saw a couple of more EPs and a never-ending streak of live performances. After replacing Cihat Gunaydin with Adnan Goyken in 1968 (again because of the military service), Mavi Isiklar released "Iyi Dusun Tasin," their biggest hit. Also that same year, the band released their first LP composed of original songs and some English covers. Singles like "Uskudar" and "Agla Cocuk Gibi" were also released before the end of the '60s.
The '70s brought another genre into mainstream attention in Turkey: Anadolu Rock. Although Mavi Isiklar were still popular, recent changes in the lineup, long obligatory military services and the economical circumstances forced the band to quit music business. Mavi Isiklar were forgotten in most parts of the '80s and '90s and even though they tried a come-back in 2000, they couldn't keep the momentum and release new songs. A compilation combining some of their best hits was released with a history booklet by Ada Muzik in 2002. ~ Vefik Karaege