Bin Boğa Efsanesi is a transcultural piece of 21st century theatre in music, featuring the astounding sounds of Alevi Bozlak voices, Bağlama, Anatolian voices and instruments with Hezarfen Ensemble. Based on an interpretation of Yasar Kemal’s masterpiece Legend of 1000 Bulls, in Turkish language and Turkish tuning, the story traces the demise of the last of the nomadic Yörük tribes in the Çukurova/Adana region of southeastern Turkey, as the Yörük’s way of life is destroyed by the ever growing greed of those around them.   With options running out and persecuted from all sides, the Karachullu tribe is forced to consider previously unthinkable options only to survive another season of migration from şlak (the Çukurova plain) to yaylak (pastures of the nearby Aladağ mountains).


Bin Boğa Efsanesi is Michael Ellison’s third and most ambitious musical theatre work integrating makam music and Turkish sounds: Anatolian Bağlama, motifs from minority Alevi culture and a microtonal tuning system based on Bozlak and makam inflections combine to create an extraordinary soundscape.. ‘Competing narrators’ (an idea taken from central Asian/Turkic origins of the Karachullu) drive the fragmented trajectory of Bin Boğa Efsanesi. A video backdrop (NOHlab-Istanbul) juxtaposes elements of text and abstractions of Alevi ritual. Depicting the consequences of blind modernisation on pastoral and perpatetic cultures, Bin Boğa Efsanesi speaks volumes on the human costs of forced settlement, with clear implications to the plight of so many migrants, their lands left behind, in so similar a situation today.


Production details

The creation and development of Bin Boğa Efsanesi is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) with support from the Istanbul Music Festival. The Turkish premiere will take place in ARTER ( ) in Spring 2021. We are seeking a European WP to take place I 2020.


Company size: 22 (includes a 12 musicians, 5 singers / narrators, 1 conductor and technical team)


Venue: a black box space is preferred (playing space ideally 12m square)

  •  For ages 12+
  •  1 day get in (day before)
  •  4 hour strike


Leave a Reply