An Ottoman Rock musical: Cem Karaca & Kardaşlar

A psychedelic satire regarding the social decay of the late Ottoman period.
January '08

Ulvi Araz, who took over the Alhambra theater in the early 1970s, summoned Ülkü Tamer with the gathering of young actors of the time. They will adapt Ben Johnson’s play Volpone as “Ottoman Pop Musical”. Ideal Tamer writes the play in a week. However, the music is not ready yet.

They talk to Cem Karaca. Karaca immediately prepares the music. Since there is no money to hire musicians to interpret the musical live on stage, they decide to record and playback the actors. Cem Karaca and the important band of those times recorded a raw record that did not leave the mixing within 10 hours. The name of the record is also the name of the game: Old Man with Tassels.

Song names are as follows:

A :

  • Uvertür
  • Altın sevdası
  • Püsküllü moruk

B :

  • Galata’nın yosması
  • Ey kadı hazretleri
  • Kapatın perdeleri

Cem Karaca forgot to write the introduction/overture part, which should be in every musical. They lock themselves in a room and record the album in 10 minutes. Overture is one of the normal Anatolian rock songs of the time with psychedelic tones. Toto Karaca, Cem Karaca’s mother, who performs all the vocals in Galata’s Slut, tells about Suzi, a famous slut in Galata. “They call me Suzi/ Galata’s old /cunning cube / body watermelon exhibition…”

“In fact, if we all have gold, then you have glory!”

“O Kadi Majesty” and “Close the Curtains” are also the songs of Cem Karaca, woven with enthusiastic, harsh vocals, funk and groove guitars, with social references that are still valid with his words.

In the songs, Cem Karaca-Toto Karaca performs a duet. Cem Karaca’s answer to Toto Karaca, who tried to explain his problem to the woman in “O Kadı Majesty” and said “Iftar is now let’s go” in the lyrics composed by Cem Karaca from the play text, is as follows: “From the initiation iftar, you damn bitch!”

The play satirizes the social decay of the late Ottoman period. Tasseled Elder, who set out to become an Ottoman pop musical under the influence of Cem Karaca, turned into an Ottoman rock musical and was removed from the stage in a short time by playing to an average of 12 audiences.

Until recently, these records, which have always been a mystery, were printed in limited numbers thanks to a European record company and turned into reality. What remains for us from this failed attempt, which was tried and defeated, is a very modern work that still remains valid in its words compared to 1971. ✪


Ooedo No Hikeshi – Smoke on the Water