To What Strange Place : The Music of the Ottoman-American Diaspora, 1916-1929

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Before the Golden Age of Americana on Record, immigrants from the dissolving Ottoman Empire were singing their joys and sorrows to disc in New York City. The virtuosic musicians from Anatolia, the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Levant living in the U.S. who recorded between WWI and the Depression are presented here across two discs, along with a third disc of masterpieces they imported as memories on shellac-and-stone. The intermingled lives and musics of Christians, Jews, and Muslims represent Middle Eastern culture as it existed within the U.S. a century ago.

A fascinating, new view of American Folk Music.
Compiled by IAN NAGOSKI.
Designed by Susan Archie.

Ian Nagoski feature, Washington Post


8.3 “It feels as essential to an understanding of American music as
anything else.”
- PItchfork

4.5/5 “a beautiful and labyrinthine Americana, one that stretches
confines of the definition of the word itself. It is an essential
document for collectors of world music, but also for those interested
in the unsung personas that created 20th century America.”
- AllMusic

‎”Comparisons with Harry Smith’s anthology or Revenant’s American
Primitive are in order, not least because this is American music with
a capital A, animated by the same feelings of desperation, nostalgia,
the quest for cheap kicks and the agony of loss. Like Smith, Nagoski
is a Walter Benjamin visionary, using his collection of 78s to
hallucinate a history that actually happened but which remains hidden
beneath official dogma and nationalisms.”
-The Wire, August 2011

5/5 “…spend a little time with it and the joys, sorrows, yearnings
and pride of a life spent far, far away from home will creep into your
- Record Collector

“Our highest award is five stars but in my opinion, you could double
that for this priceless collection. I’m convinced this perfectly
produced set is destined to win some huge award this year because it’s
absolutely faultless.”

-The Scotsman

“‎a massive treasury of world music roots, providing context,
contemplation, and wonder over the course of just a few hours.”
-Short and Sweet NYC

“Ian Nagoski’s To What Strange Place is a work of great beauty.”
- Jace Clayton / DJ /rupture, WFMU

“”I was entranced; I was FASCINATED. It is one of the most worthwhile
purchases you will make this year. I went and got mine; I think you
should, too.”
- Henry Rollins, KCRW

Baltimore City Paper
The National, Dubai, UAE

The Wire