Funded! This project was successfully funded on April 20, 2012.

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Learning and telling the stories of Near Eastern musicians in the US in the early decades of the 20th century.

LAST CALL With just 3 hours left to go, I've gone ahead and posted the last few gift mp3s for backers - 11 tracks total for a contribution of as a little as $1. Thanks so much to everyone who made this possible, especially Matt Bowden who made the video. (His own project, By and By: New Orleans Gospel at the Crossroads, launches soon - watch for it! It's awesome!) Anyone interested in being in touch (or contributing) after the campaign closes this evening can email me at inagoski@gmail.com. 

UPDATE: We're funded to the point that travel will be possible both to the West Coast and the East Mediterranean! Wa-Hoo!! If you're not able to come to the the US or overseas show, I'll be posting videos from my lectures, meetings with collectors and experiences in archives if we reach the $11,000 milestone. Here's hoping, and THANK YOU!

"To What Strange Place: The Music of the Ottoman-American Diaspora, 1916-1929" tells the story of Middle Eastern culture as it existed within the U.S. a century ago.

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. 

I have toured the project in the northeast of America and in Western Europe, but despite my best efforts, I have not been able to take it to the West Coast or the Midwest. It is important that I do.  The major enclaves of Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks - in places such as Detroit, Chicago, and in particular, Los Angeles, there is a great deal of research to be done, and it is important to tell what I have learned along the way to the communities there.

The 3CD set of To What Strange Place published last year is just the beginning of a story that needs to be told. In order to finish it, a book needs to be done. I have worked on To What Strange Place as a labor-of-love for the past six years, but to finish the project, I must travel at the very least within the US. Any funds contributed over or beyond the baseline here will go toward the writing of the book that To What Strange Place has always wanted to be.

There are over 100,000 words of notes have been written for the set - only 13,000 have been published. I am continuing to uncover new information and need assistance in bringing these stories to light. 

The first two discs of the CD set are comprised of virtuoso performances by musicians from Anatolia, the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Levant - all living and recording in the United States between WWI and the Depression. Included also is a third disc of masterpieces - imported memories from home in shellac-and-stone. 

What did they carry with them? What did they listen to? How did they affect American culture? How were they largely neglected for a century? A fascinating, new view of American Folk Music and wonderful music.

The amazing stories of the musicians and their lives form an important stories in the history of America, the rise of the record business, and the lives, work, and struggles of great musicians. What I've done these past six years, with only the donations and support of friends and family until very recently, is only the beginning. I need your help to continue the work. 

My dream is to learn the history of Middle Eastern music in the US and to share it, to help recover some important part of our memory as Americans. By donating, you are helping to rewrite American musical history and strengthening the voice of great musics of our past.

THANK YOU. 

Selected Reviews of To What Strange Place: 

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

"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." - Other Music 

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 soul." - 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." - RedLick

"*****" - 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

"Timeless beauty... a very special time capsule. Magnificent." - Moors Magazine

"Record of the Year. [...] a masterpiece." - Distorsioni

"‎one of the best collections of music of 2011. We strongly advise you pick up a copy." - Foxy Digitalis

“this project draws parallels with Alan Lomax’s lifetime’s work [...] rich and varied…” - Rouse Hill Times

"Ian Nagoski's To What Strange Place is a work of great beauty." - Jace Clayton / DJ /rupture

"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

Articles on To What Strange Place:

Radikal, Istanbul, Turkey

Frieze, London, UK

Baltimore City Paper

The National, Dubai, UAE

Armenian Weekly, Watertown, MA

New Haven Register, New Haven, CT

Vice

Oxford Mail

Sound of Music

Songs Heard on Fast Trains

Sounds of To What Strange Place:

The Wire

RCRDLBL

Clandestino Institut lecture

FAQ

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    13 backers

    all backers get weekly updates including two gift mp3s of previously unreissued songs from my 78rpm collection related to the project. 6 tracks have been posted for backers to date (April 9), two more will be posted before the project ends, and another two will come the week after - 10 tracks in all - my gift to you for your support.

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    53 backers

    UNCOLLECTED RECORDS - a digital download album of 20 joyous tracks culled from my 78 rpm record collection from all over the world: Scotland, India, Uzbekistan, Colombia, Armenia, China, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Hawaii, Lebanon, Finland, Quebec, etc. (.wav files or high quality mp3s - your choice.)

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    15 backers Limited (10 left of 25)

    USTAD ABDUL KARIM KHAN, 1934-1935 - my recent CD release on Important Records with 10 brilliant recordings by the Hindustani master vocalist and some thousands of words of notes telling his story.

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    24 backers Limited (11 left of 35)

    USTAD ABDUL KARIM KHAN & UNCOLLECTD RECORDS- my recent CD release on Important Records with 10 brilliant recordings by the Hindustani master vocalist and some thousands of words of notes telling his story PLUS A CDR album of 20 joyous tracks culled from my 78 rpm record collection from all over the world: Scotland, India, Uzbekistan, Colombia, Armenia, China, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Hawaii, Lebanon, Finland, Quebec, etc. (.wav files or high quality mp3s - your choice.)

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    17 backers All gone!

    WHAT REMAINS OF EDEN: MUSIC FROM ANATOLIA & THE LEVANT, 1928-55 - a signed copy of my new LP on Canary/Mississippi records PLUS a copy of a limited CDR of 23 tracks left off of the CD release of To What Strange Place.

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    30 backers Limited (2 left of 32)

    BED OF PAIN: REMBETIKA, 1931-55 - a signed copy of my forthcoming LP on Canary/Mississippi records PLUS a copy of a limited CDR of 23 tracks left off of the CD release of To What Strange Place and a copy of the UNCOLLECTED RECORDS collection on CDR.

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    37 backers All gone!

    TO WHAT STRANGE PLACE: THE MUSIC OF THE OTTOMAN-AMERICAN DIASPORA, 1916-1929 - a signed copy of the 3CD set PLUS a copy of a limited CDR of 23 tracks left off of TWSP.

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    21 backers All gone!

    TO WHAT STRANGE PLACE 3LP set - signed copies of a 3 LP redux limited to 1000 copies to be issued this Fall by Canary/Mississippi Records. All 3 LPs shipped to you as soon as they come out.

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    18 backers

    CANARY RECORDS USB THUMB DRIVE - highest quality mp3s (or wav files, your choice) and and liner notes of all releases to date from my label, Canary (Brass Pins & Pearls: International 78s; Marika Papagika - the Further the Flame, the Worse it Burns Me, Abdul Karim Khan 1934-35, What Remains of Eden, & Bed of Pain) PLUS an as-yet-unscheduled project, Cute American Girls: Armenian & Greek Women in NYC, 1942-55, AND a scrapped 10" project, Rocket Infinity: A Global View of the Rise of Rock n Roll, 1949-61.

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    14 backers Limited (1 left of 15)

    TWSP CDS & CANARY THUMB DRIVE PACKAGE: per request! a signed copy of the 3CD set To What Strange Place PLUS a copy of a limited CDR of 23 tracks left off of TWSP. PLUS the Canary Records USB Thumb Drive - highest quality mp3s (or wav files, your choice) and and liner notes of all releases to date from my label, Canary (Brass Pins & Pearls: International 78s; Marika Papagika - the Further the Flame, the Worse it Burns Me, Abdul Karim Khan 1934-35, What Remains of Eden, & Bed of Pain) PLUS an as-yet-unscheduled project, Cute American Girls: Armenian & Greek Women in NYC, 1942-55, AND a scrapped 10" project, Rocket Infinity: A Global View of the Rise of Rock n Roll, 1949-61.

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    7 backers Limited (1 left of 8)

    TO WHAT STRANGE PLACE 3LP set - signed copies of a 3 LP redux limited to 1000 copies to be issued this Fall by Canary/Mississippi Records. All 3 LPs shipped to you as soon as they come out. PUS CANARY RECORDS USB THUMB DRIVE - highest quality mp3s (or wav files, your choice) and and liner notes of all releases to date from my label, Canary (Brass Pins & Pearls: International 78s; Marika Papagika - the Further the Flame, the Worse it Burns Me, Abdul Karim Khan 1934-35, What Remains of Eden, & Bed of Pain) PLUS an as-yet-unscheduled project, Cute American Girls: Armenian & Greek Women in NYC, 1942-55, AND a scrapped 10" project, Rocket Infinity: A Global View of the Rise of Rock n Roll, 1949-61.

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    8 backers All gone!

    THE PACKAGE DEAL - all of the above except for the the TWSP vinyl.

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    2 backers Limited (8 left of 10)

    LATHE CUT COPY OF A STRING OF PEARLS: INTERNATIONAL 78S - an individually cut and hand-packaged copy of my now out-of-print LP collection, released on Mississippi/Canary Records. These copies will be custom cut and assembled, one at a time, only for those who donate and will not be available otherwise.

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    5 backers Limited (5 left of 10)

    A LATHE CUT COPY OF CUTE AMERICAN GIRLS: Armenian & Greek Women in NYC, 1942-55 - an individually cut and hand-packaged LP copy of a full-restored and annotated project, which has not yet been scheduled for official release. These copies will be custom cut and assembled, one at a time, only for those who donate and will not be available otherwise.

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    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    WESTERN TOUR STOP - NEW, LOWER DONATION LEVEL! Do you live anywhere between San Diego and Vancouver? Do you live in Arizona, New Mexico or Nevada? I'll arrange for an evening in your town and give a private 2-hour talk/record-listening-session for you and your friends within the next 10 months. PLUS a signed copy of the 3CD set and a copy of a limited CDR of 23 tracks left off of TWSP delivered to you in person.

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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    PRIVATE RECORD LISTENING/TALK ANYWHERE IN NORTH AMERICA - NEW, LOWER DONATION LEVEL Yes, I will come to any village, town, or city in the US, Canada or Mexico to give a 2-hour record listening session and talk for you and your friends within the next 10 months. PLUS a signed copy of the 3CD set and a copy of a limited CDR of 23 tracks left off of TWSP delivered to you in person. (This one was my sister's idea.)

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Funding period

- (30 days)