And Two Partridges II: From the Earliest Turkish​-​, Arabic- Armenian​-​& Kurdish​-​Language Recordings in America, Feb​-​Aug, 1916

by Canary Records



This is a second part of a collection of the earliest Near Eastern recordings made in the U.S.
The first recordings in America for commercial release in the Turkish language were 20 songs made by Columbia Records in New York on February 13, 1912. Further sessions were made in October of that year. Another ten songs were recorded in September 1915. Three sessions were made in February, July, and August of 1916. Between September 1912 and Febraury 1916, 44 songs were recorded in total.

The recordings here are presented here in strict chronological order in which they were recorded. All are first takes. The performers were entirely Armenians, Assyrians, Syrian Christians, or Greeks to the best of our knowledge.

Tracks 1-8 were recorded Feb. 1916.
Tracks 9-10 were recorded July 1916.
Tracks 11-16 were recorded July-Aug 1916

From mid-1916 onward Columbia increased its production of recording of immigrants from the Ottoman Empire generally, producing scores of records in Turkish, Arabic, Armenian, and Ladino, and its main rival Victor Records entered the game, producing its own recordings of Ottoman immigrants, until 1919 when both labels ceased to market domestic recordings to those ethnicities. Shortly thereafter, small, independent labels, including most notably that of the Armenian entrepreneur M.G. Parsekian, who quickly filled in the market gap for Tukish-speakers, and A.J. Macksoud and Alexander Maloof, who catered to Arabic-speakers.

These recordings were made acoustically. That is to say, they were made through purely mechanical methods, a decade before the introduction of the microphone. We have made only light restoration to the sound and present the performances largely as they were found on deeply flawed discs. We assume that their historical interest will be appropriate to the venue, making them available to those interested at a negligible cost.

Credits and titles are given as they were on the original disc labels and within the files consulted by Richard K. Spottswood for his discography Ethnic Music on Records: A Discography of Ethnic Recordings Produces in the United States, 1893 to 1942, Volume 5: Mid-East, Far East, Scandanavia, English Language, American Indian, International, which has also provided most of the information around which I have based this collection.
Additional information would be gladly received.

Similar material (with a few tracks overlap) can be heard on the To What Strange Place B-Sides download compilation.


released January 11, 2017



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