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Music of The Ottoman-american Diaspora Vol. III [coll] – [Mississippi Records]

strange place

Vocal and instrumental recordings from 1905-1928. (For some reason the album cover says 1916-1930, but I’m going with the liner notes because they date the individual tracks.)
The Ottoman Empire, in existence for six centuries, enveloped a large portion of Mediterranean and Balkan Europe, and drew cultural influences from many different regions (Turkish, Egyptian, Greek, Armenian, Macedonian, etc.)
The performers here reflect a variety of nationalities. Some of these musicians were respected classical players and others were popular performers of the day. A couple of tracks feature unknown performers. The only artist I was familiar with is the great Turkish violinist/cellist Cemil Bey, whom the liner notes liken to Charlie Parker in terms of having enormous musical ability while notoriously suffering from drug addiction and poor health.
Audio quality is decent, bearing in mind that some of the recordings are more than 100 years old. The tracks are in the 3 to 4 minute range and were recorded mostly in each artist’s home country; a few of them were recorded in America.
Fascinating stuff. Fezcore. Dudes with excellent mustaches. I am partial to track B5, an instrumental that the liner notes claim was a typical accompaniment to Turkish wrestlers covered in olive oil and wearing leather trunks.

  • Reviewed by Max Level on May 26, 2014 at 5:30 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,International
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