With the help of Lee at Tusk, I’ll be touring the UK around February 13th-19th with The Family Elan.
I have hopes as well to speak and play music in Rome and Istanbul shortly thereafter. Maybe there will be opportunities to do the same in Amsterdam, Brussels, Sweden and one or two other places where they might be interested English-speaking audiences during that last week of Feb. or the first week of March 2012. If anyone can help, I’d be deeply grateful.
To that end, below is the current promo text for me & To What Strange Place
Ian Nagoski is a musicologist and musician concerned with the origins
and temporal boundaries of music. He has produced several albums and
installations of slow, densely layered electronic music and performed
widely. In 2007 Ian released Black Mirror, a collection of gripping
music recorded between 1918 and 1954 originating in more than 20
countries. Lauded by publications as diverse as the academic journal
Ethnomusicology and the taste-making website Pitchfork, it was
described by the Baltimore’s City as “enigmatic, transfixing,
haunting, pretty, and just plain odd,” and the Kronos Quartet included
a piece from it in their repertoire.
Nagoski followed Black Mirror with a series of releases on his own
Canary Records imprint (manufactured and distributed by Mississippi
Records of Portland, OR), including an LP of the brilliant 1920′s
Greek singer Marika Papagika, which LA Times Music Editor Randall
Roberts has called “awe-inspiring.” Most recently, Canary has released
an in-depth survey of the life and work of the great Indian singer
Abdul Karim Khan. A 3CD set depicting the lives and work of Middle
Eastern musicians (and their audiences) in and around New York City in
the first decades of the 20th century, “To What Strange Place: The
Music of the Ottoman-American Diaspora, 1916-29”, was released this
year on the Tompkins Square label. All Music gave it 4 1/2 stars, and
in The Wire Marcus Boon described Nagoski as “like [Harry] Smith, 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.” Nagoski is also a writer, who has
contributed research on under-sung musicians and music to dozens of
magazines and blogs. He lectures and teaches widely, moving between
galleries, bars, coffee houses, sound-art festivals, radio and
academic institutions. Jason Cherkis’ article on Nagoski’s life and
work for the Washington Post was selected for DaCapo’s Best Music
Writing 2011, edited by Alex Ross.
To What Strange Place : The Music of the Ottoman-American Diaspora, 1916 - 1929
Sprawling 3CD set compiled by IAN NAGOSKI, out June 28, 2011 on
Tompkins Square Records.
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.
Designed by Susan Archie.
83-second Trailer :
Ian Nagoski is music researcher, musician, writer and record producer.
His avocation is inspiring people who love music to love it more. In
2007 Ian released Black Mirror, a collection of gripping folk and
devotional music recorded between 1918 and 1954 in Syria, Bali,
Scotland, Yugoslavia, Cameroon, and a dozen or so other countries. It
was released on Grammy-winning label Dust-to-Digital; taste-makers
Pitchfork gave it an 8.6 and Baltimore’s City Paper called it
“enigmatic, transfixing, haunting, pretty, and just plain odd,” and
the Kronos Quartet (whose David Harrington called it the Record of the
Year in the UK paper the Independent began performing a piece from it.
The academic journal Ethnomusicology lauded it as an exceptional
collection, despite having been made for the general public.
Nagoski followed Black Mirror with two more international collections
A String of Pearls, Brass Pins & Match Heads for his own Canary
imprint (manufactured and distributed by the Porland, OR label
Mississippi Records) as well as an LP of the under-recognized and
brilliant 1920s Greek singer Marika Papagika, which LA Times Music
Editor Randall Roberts has called “awe-inspiring.” and an LP of the
mid-30s recordings of the Indian classical singer Abdul Karim Khan
which Aquarius Records named the record of the week in August, ‘11,
saying it was “something else altogether […], dense, lush, emotional
and spiritual ragas, haunting and mystical and completely
gorgeous.[…], so powerful and so passionate […] you’ll be whisked
away, totally transported, as the sounds surround you, and seep into
your spirit and soul. The music here so utterly transcendent, so lush,
warm and welcoming, yet at the same time, so strange and wondrous,
Khan’s voice sounding like its bathed in divine light. Incredible.”
Several more of Nagoski projects on Canary Records will be issued in
the months to come, including studies of Carpathian and Middle Eastern
Music of the 20s-40s.
Nagoski is also a writer, who has contributed to dozens of magazines
and blogs, and he is the writer and host of Fonotopia, a radio show
based around his obsession with early 20th century recordings, which
David Srebnik, the Music Format Curator at the Public Radio Exchange
has called “a deeply rich hour of music and compelling storytelling,”
noting that Nagoski has “not gathered any collector-nerd moss along
the way.” Over the past several years, he has traveled widely as a
teacher and lecturer, moving between galleries, bars, coffee houses,
sound-art festivals, radio.
He is the recipient of a Kindle Foundation Muse Makers award, which
has made this
A Washington Post festure on Nagoski was selected for Da Capo’s Best
Music Writing 2011:
REVIEWS OF TO WHAT STRANGE PLACE:
8.3 “It feels as essential to an understanding of American music as
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.”
”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
"Nagoski’s affection for this music is more than apparent; it’s his
dedication to honoring the musicians’ lives, traditions, and
communities that makes To What Strange Place the triumph it is. It’s
one of the most valuable contributions to our understanding and
appreciation of American music — as that’s what this is — to come
down the pike in a long time.”
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
"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
"a massive treasury of world music roots, providing context,
contemplation, and wonder over the course of just a few hours.”
-Short and Sweet NYC
"Timeless beauty… a very special time capsule. Magnificent."
"Record of the Year. […] a masterpiece."
"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
- Henry Rollins, KCRW
ARTICLES ON TO WHAT STRANGE PLACE:
Radikal, Istanbul, Turkey
The National, Dubai, UAE:
Armenian Weekly, Watertown, MA:
SOUNDS OF TO WHAT STRANGE PLACE: