Selim Sesler was born in Keşan in Edirne, Turkey in 1957. He is from a musician family originally from Drama (Greece), who traditionally played zurna, and who emigrated to Turkey in 1923. Sesler began by playing zurna,but took up the clarinet in his early teens, as many younger members of davul-zurna families began to adopt ince saz instruments in the 1960s. He began playing in village weddings at the age of fourteen, and also performed at regional fairs. In the 1980s he joined the many regional towns' gypsy musicians moving to larger urban centres, and then moved to Istanbul.