Don’t Let Me Be Lost To You: Early 20th Century Near Eastern Musics in New York City
At the height of immigration to the United States 100 years ago, a wave of people from the collapsing Ottoman Empire and settled in the U.S. At the same time, the burgeoning record industry in an around New York City radically hastened the distribution of dissemination of musical cultures and documented thousands of performances by performers from present-day Turkey, Syria, Armenia, Lebanon, Egypt, and Greece within the U.S. And then, for a half-century, those recordings were neglected. Who were these musicians? Where did they go? How did their work affect America?
Watch a short film about Ian's record collecting HERE
Ian Nagoski’s talk-and-record-listening conference illuminates a world-within-a-world of a musical culture as it developed over two generations, reveling in the specific and presenting little-heard masterpieces. It is an exploration of the details of artistic expressions of immigrants and the social realities of a “nation of immigrants” and its ambivalences concerning who matters and who gets remembered.
Ian Nagoski is a music researcher and record producer in Baltimore, Maryland. For more than a decade, he has produced dozens of reissues of early 20th century recordings in languages other than English for labels including Dust-to-Digital, Tompkins Square, his own Canary Records, and others. His enthusiastic talks have been hosted at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C., the Onassis Cultural Center in Athens Greece, the University of Chicago, the Bob Dylan Center in Tulsa Oklahoma, and New York University, and he has presented his work in installation at the Museum fur Naturkunde in Berlin Germany, the Wellcome Center in London England, and the Peale Center in Baltimore Maryland. A fragment of his work is included on the MoonkArk, the first object to be permanently installed on the moon, in 2020.
"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.” - Marcus Boon, the Wire