Moğollar (Mongols in Turkish) is one of the pioneer bands in Turkish rock music for about 40 years and one of the founders of Turkish folk rock (or Anatolian rock). The major goal of the band is to prove that folk music has a multi-layered soul and folk music’s dynamism is very close to pop music’s dynamism.
The band was founded in 1967 by Neco (Nejat Tahir Özyılmazel), Aziz Azmet, Aydın Daruga and Murat Ses who were previously members of Silüetler(silhouettes). However, Neco left the band at the end of 1967. Also, Cahit Berkay, who was a member of Selçuk Alagöz Band, and Haluk Kunt, who was a member of Vahşi Kediler (Wild Cats), both joined the band. Later, Haluk Kunt was replaced by Hasan Sel, who was a member of Apaşlar (Apaches) in 1968, and Aydın Daruga was replaced by Engin Yörükoğlu in 1969.
In 1970, Hasan Sel was replaced by Taner Öngür, previously a member of Meteorlar (Meteors) and the Erkin Koray Quartet. The band tried to fuse the technical aspects of pop music with the melodies of Anatolian folk music in late 1960s and early 1970s.
In July 1970, Aziz Azmet, the band’s vocalist left the band due to musical disagreements and Ersen Dinleten replaced him for a short time. Moğollar recorded Ternek/Haliç’te Gün Batışı (Ternek/Sunset on the Golden Horn) 45 rpm, and left for Paris in August 1970. While they went to Paris , they signed a 3 year contract with CBS . While they made a 45 rpm album called Behind the Dark/Hitchin. After that , they signed with another record company called Guild International du Disque and made one album for this company. This album received a big record award called Academic Charles Cros in 1971. By that time, they met with Barış Manço and started to work with him while he was living in Belgium.
In 1968 the group won the third place in Turkish music contest Golden Microphone. In 1971 the group won the Grand Prix du Disque of the Charles Cros Academy (previously won by such groups as Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix). Nearly all of the tracks on this album are compositions or traditional arrangements of Murat Ses, the group’s keyboardist, arranger and composer (official records by SACEM, GEMA and MESAM).
Murat Ses’s composition, Ağrı Dağı Efsanesi (The Legend of Mount Ararat), was inspired by ancient legends of the Great Flood in different cultures. In live versions of the track, which lasted over ten minutes, he made use of diverse FX technologies of the time to narrate a sonic story using his keyboards.
In 1971, Barış Manço joined as vocalist and the band was renamed Manchomongol. Manchomongol recorded 2 45 rpms, and this partnership ended after four months. Also, Engin Yörükoğlu stayed in Paris, and the drummer of Mavi Işıklar (Blue Lights), Ayzer Danga, joined the band to replace him.
Moğollar recorded one single with Selda Bağcan during the first half of 1972. Ersen then re-joined the band in July 1972 and they recorded another single. Murat Ses left the band in August 1972. In September 1972, Moğollar replaced their soloists with Cem Karaca, who was then the soloist of Kardaşlar (Brothers).This partnership of Cem Karaca and Moğollar lasted for two years and they produced the song, Namus Belası, which became a great hit.
In 1974, Taner Öngür and Ayzer Danga left the band. Öngür joined Dadaşlar, a band with Ersen Dinleten between 1974–1975 and 1979–1980 and Dervişan (Dervishes), a band with Cem Karaca between 1974 and 1978. He also briefly joined Dostlar, a band with Edip Akbayram in 1975. Danga initially joined Kardaşlar between 1974 and 1975. He participated in Erkin Koray’s ‘Elektronik Türküler’ (Electronic Songs) album in 1975. He laterly joined Dostlar between 1975 and 1978; Güneşin Sofrası, a band with Kerem Güney (1939-2012) in 1979; Dadaşlar, a band with Ersen Dinleten in 1983 and Zorbeyler in 1984 before his retirement from music. Meanwhile, Cahit Berkay dissolved the band and left for France to meet with Engin Yörükoğlu. Cahit and Engin recorded two albums under the name Moğollar. They also recorded single with Ali Rıza Binboğa in 1975. The band completely dissolved in 1976.
After a 17-year absence, Cahit Berkay, Taner Öngür and Engin Yörükoğlu reformed the band in 1993, and were joined by keyboard player Serhat Ersöz. Murat Ses is dealing with other projects and is still pursuing an extraordinary international career.
In 2007, the Advertising agency TBWA decided to use Moğollar’s late 1960s track, Garip Çoban (translated – Lonesome Shepherd; written by Murat Ses) in the This is Living advertisement campaign for Sony’s PlayStation 3. Also Emrah Karaca (son of Cem Karaca) joined Moğollar in 2007. Engin Yörükoğlu was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2007 and has died in 2010.