78 78s: In Search Of Lost Time

Spinning The Grooves Of Vintage Recordings From Around The World

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Allen Street, New York City's Lower East Side: Dancers in a Turkish club owned by Jo Levyon, December 1942. This photo is from the Library of Congress' American Memories project archive. i i

hide captionAllen Street, New York City's Lower East Side: Dancers in a Turkish club owned by Jo Levyon, December 1942. This photo is from the Library of Congress' American Memories project archive.

Marjory Collins/Library of Congress
Allen Street, New York City's Lower East Side: Dancers in a Turkish club owned by Jo Levyon, December 1942. This photo is from the Library of Congress' American Memories project archive.

Allen Street, New York City's Lower East Side: Dancers in a Turkish club owned by Jo Levyon, December 1942. This photo is from the Library of Congress' American Memories project archive.

Marjory Collins/Library of Congress

Your Host

Esteemed crate-digger Ian Nagoski.

hide captionEsteemed crate-digger Ian Nagoski.

Made of ground stone mixed with carbon black and the secretion of the South Asian lac beetle, 78 RPM discs were the dominant sound-recording medium for a half-century. Nowadays, we often think of them as containing obsolete, rinky-tink pop tunes or loamy, backwoods roots music — which isn't wrong, but it isn't the full story, either. In the early decades of the 20th century, the major record companies scattered sound engineers and A&R men all over the earth to gather sounds from a staggering array of traditions that could be sold back to their communities. Small labels popped up in the major cities of almost every continent, and in America, literally tons of music brought by the swelling immigrant populations were set to disc. Many more were imported to feed the nostalgia of those who arrived. What wasn't sent to the landfill decades ago continues to fill basements and attics in heaving, groaning masses. Are there, among all of these musty, crusty, dusty platters, some mind-bendingly awesome performances? Oh, yes — lots of them.

I started sifting through boxes of junky old 78s that no one else wanted about 15 years ago, and almost right away, I made a rule: Anything that wasn't in English, buy it. Among the discs I started to accumulate, there were some real pearls, and I loved sharing them with friends. About five years ago, I started to share them with a wider world, hosting listening sessions, doing radio broadcasts and releasing reissue collections of some of the most beautiful records I came across.

For this mix, I picked 78 sides from the 78 era, drawing from my own collection and reissue projects, including Black Mirror: Reflections in Global Musics, 1918-54 (Dust-to-Digital, 2007), To What Strange Place: The Music of the Ottoman-American Diaspora, 1916-29 (Tompkins Square, 2011) and Brass Pins and Pearls: International 78s (Important, coming later in 2012), as well as from several projects in various stages of completion for my own little LP label Canary Records (manufactured and distributed by Mississippi Records in Portland, Ore.).

Watch A Short Film On The Project

Matt Bowden/YouTube

I've also drawn from exceptional reissues undertaken as labors of love by fanatic researchers who work to keep alive the brilliant musicians of the past from all over the world. Namely: The Secret Museum of Mankind: Ethnic Music Classics (edited by Pat Conte), Opika Pende: Africa at 78rpm (edited by Jonathan Ward), Don't Trust Your Neighbors: Early Albanian Songs & Improvisations 1920s-1930s (edited by Chris King), Victrola Favorites: Artifacts From Bygone Days (edited by Robert Millis & Jeffery Taylor), several superb releases on the Honest Jon's label edited by Mark Ainley, and the diverse works of Charles Howard, David Murray, Henry Saposnik, Dick Spottswood, the Mahoor Institute of Culture and Art in Tehran, the Library of Congress and others.

These songs come from a wide variety of places, including Jamaica, Serbia, Iran, Spain, Nebraska, Switzerland, Portugal, Romania, Macedonia, Italy, Uruguay, Greece, Armenia, Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, Ireland, Vietnam, Java, Korea, Sweden, Finland, Guinea, Turkestan, Kazakhstan, Iraq, Liberia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Algeria, Bulgaria, Albania, Brazil, Sardinia, Ukraine, Poland, Zimbabwe, India, Japan, Thailand, Burma and Germany.

Songs In This Mix

  • Α. Kostis, "Kaike Ena Scholio" (Rembetika 2 - More Of The Secret History Of Greece's Underground Music)
  • Abdul Karim Khan, 'Basant Khyal: Ab Maine Man Dekheri' (Abdul Karim Khan: 1934-35)
  • Ahmet Gurses 'Istanbul Road' (What Remains of Eden: Music from Anatolia and the Levant, 1928-55)
  • Amalia Rodrigues 'Nao e Desgraca ser Pobre' (Brass Pins and Pearls: International 78s)
  • Amelita Galli-Curci 'Crepuscule' (Brass Pins and Pearls: International 78s)
  • Andonis Dalgas 'Tis Xenitias O Ponos' (1928-33)
  • Armenag Chah-Mouradian 'Andouni' (To What Strange Place : The Music of The Ottoman-American Diaspora, 1916 - 1929)
  • Bismallah Khan And Party 'Todi' (Victrola Favorites: Artifacts by Bygone Days)
  • Christer Falkenstrom 'Baklandets Vackra Maja' (Black Mirror: Reflections in Global Musics, 1918-54)
  • Cold Storage Rhythm 'Skokiaan' (Rocket Infinity)
  • D.Khansakatov 'Urul Chykdy' (The Secret Museum Of Mankind - Central Asia Classics 1925-1948)
  • D.Nurpeisova 'Ashkelen' (The Secret Museum Of Mankind - Central Asia Classics 1925-1948)
  • Efisio Melis 'Sardinia - Mediana In Re Maggiore, Parte 1' (Patchwork Europe - Early Recordings 1911-1954)
  • Eric Sahlström 'Byggnan' (The Secret Museum Of Mankind Vol. 1: Ethnic Music Classics (1925-48))
  • Eupheme Cooper 'All For You' (The Arthur S. Alberts Collection - More Tribal, Folk , and Cafe Muisic of West Africa)
  • Faiyyaz Khan 'Kafi' (Kafi)
  • Francis Baloyi and Shangaan Band 'Sati Wa Vakwela' (Opika Pende: Africa at 78rpm)
  • George Katsaros 'Vre ti Mangas Pou Mai Go' (To What Strange Place: The Music of the Ottoman-American Diaspora, 1916-1929)
  • George Saad 'Taqasim Bayat Nay' (What Remains of Eden: Music from Anatolia and the Levant, 1928-55)
  • George Stabler 'Omaha Flute Music: 3 Selections' (Brass Pins and Pearls: International 78s)
  • Goncho Kolev Kehayata 'Zhetvarska Pesen' (Outsinging the Nightingale: Lost Treasures Of Bulgarian Music)
  • Gungadin 'Rak Ron Ying Kwa Det' (Rocket Infinity)
  • Gus Dussas 'O Paraponiaris' (Rembetika: Greek Music From The Undergrond: Dope, Dice, Guitars, Knives 'n' Such 1928-1946)
  • Harry Hasekian 'Sadaraban' (To What Strange Place : The Music of The Ottoman-American Diaspora, 1916 - 1929)
  • Ichimaru 'Samisen Boogie' (Rocket Infinity)
  • Ignacy Podgorski i Jego Nadzwyczajna Orkestra 'Polka From Kharkov' (Muzuka Vdovoj: Northern Slavs in the US, 1925-33)
  • Jack Gregory 'Minore tou Teke' (Rembetika: Greek Music From The Underground)
  • Jakob Ummel and Jodlerklub Thun 'Alpufzug' (Brass Pins and Pearls: International 78s)
  • John Haik 'Malo Kolo' (Brass Pins and Pearls: International 78s)
  • Juan Parras 'Asturias (Layenda), pt 2' (Brass Pins and Pearls: International 78s)
  • Kemany Minas 'Egin' (To What Strange Place : The Music of The Ottoman-American Diaspora, 1916 - 1929)
  • Kishor Kumar 'Eena Meena Deeka' (Rocket Infinity)
  • Kju Pora 'O Moj Tin Qi Man Flori' (Don't Trust Your Neighbors: Early Albanian Traditional Songs & Improvisations, 1920s - 1930s)
  • Kostas Skarvelis 'Pain Without Pity' (Bed of Pain: Rembetika, 1930 - ca. 1955)
  • La Nina de los Peines 'Saeta' (Brass Pins and Pearls: International 78s)
  • Lil Wally 'Crazy Polka' (Rocket Infinity)
  • Lord Fly 'When Mi Look Upon Janie So; Ada; Time So Hard' (Brass Pins and Pearls: International 78s)
  • Lotte Lenya and Kurt Weill 'Lost in the Stars' (O Moon of Alabama: Songs)
  • M. Douzjian 'High Aghchg, Tchar Aghchg' (To What Strange Place : The Music of The Ottoman-American Diaspora, 1916 - 1929)
  • M. Nguyen Van Minh-Con 'Nam Nhi-Tu' (Black Mirror: Reflections in Global Musics, 1918-54)
  • Madame Hafize and Selim 'Kusteka Mayrush' (Don't Trust Your Neighbors: Early Albanian Traditional Songs & Improvisations, 1920s - 1930s)
  • Marika Papagika 'Smyrneiko Minore' (To What Strange Place : The Music of The Ottoman-American Diaspora, 1916 - 1929)
  • Markos Vamvakaris 'The Lifer' (Mortika: Vintage Recordings from the Greek Underworld)
  • Maung Kyaw 'Best Piano Solo' (Haji Maji blog)
  • Moulouk Khanoum Zarrabi 'Awaz Mahoor' (From a forthcoming compilation on Honest Jon's Records)
  • Muzzeyen Senar 'Bir Kadeh Dolasher' (What Remains of Eden: Music from Anatolia and the Levant, 1928-55)
  • Naftule Brandwein 'A Hora Mit Tzibeles (Hora With Onions)' (King Of The Klezmer Clarinet)
  • Neyzen Tevfik Efendi 'Huseyni Taksim' (To Scratch Your Heart: Early Recordings From Istanbul)
  • Nishan Sedefjian 'Huzam Taxim' (To What Strange Place : The Music of The Ottoman-American Diaspora, 1916 - 1929)
  • Nji R. Hadji Djoeaehn 'Tjimploengan' (Black Mirror: Reflections in Global Musics, 1918-54)
  • Pancras Mkwawa 'Ngosingosi' (Opika Pende: Africa at 78rpm)
  • Patrick J. Touhey 'Drowsy Maggie' (Black Mirror: Reflections in Global Musics, 1918-54)
  • Regionale Archestra 'Caboclo Do Matto' (The Secret Museum Of Mankind Vol. 4: Ethnic Music Classics (1925-48))
  • Rose Zahran 'Bashraf Nawa'ather' (Women of Egypt 1924-1931)
  • Saleh Ibrahim 'Taqsim' (Give Me Love: Songs Of The Brokenhearted - Baghdad, 1925-1929)
  • Salim Daoud 'Abuthiyya' (Give Me Love: Songs Of The Brokenhearted - Baghdad, 1925-1929)
  • Semi Sheheen 'Sherzad Dance' (What Remains of Eden: Music from Anatolia and the Levant, 1928-55)
  • Shalom Katz 'Eil Malei Rachmim' (Brass Pins and Pearls: International 78s)
  • Shemon Aslan 'Abdomun Mezari' (What Remains of Eden: Music from Anatolia and the Levant, 1928-55)
  • Sinkou Son and Kouran Kin 'Songs In Grief' (Black Mirror: Reflections in Global Musics, 1918-54)
  • Sissou 'Ahlen Bikoum' (Opika Pende: Africa at 78rpm)
  • Slavi Velev 'Trakiiska Ruchenitsa' (Outsinging the Nightingale: Lost Treasures Of Bulgarian Music)
  • Sotirios Stasinopoulos 'O Korakas' (To What Strange Place : The Music of The Ottoman-American Diaspora, 1916 - 1929)
  • Surashri Kesarbai Kerkar 'Raga Kukubh Bilawal - Devi Durge' (Golden Milestones)
  • Taher Zadeh and Akbar Khan 'Untraced Title' (From a forthcoming compilation on Honest Jon's Records)
  • Taj Isfahani 'Chekawak Va Bidad' (Brass Pins and Pearls: International 78s)
  • Tanburi Cemil Bey 'Segah Taksim (yayli tanbur)' (Tanburi Cemil Bey: Volume IV and V)
  • Thiruvazhimilalai Subramanian Bros. and Needamangalam Meenakshisundaram Pillai 'Manasa Sri Ramachandra' (Black Mirror: Reflections in Global Musics, 1918-54)
  • Ukrainska Orchestra Pawla Humeniuka 'Kozak Zawydija (Fast Kozak)' ('Spiew Juchasa (Song of the Shepherd): Songs of the Slavic Americans)
  • Ulla Kantajavuori 'Karelsk Vagguisa' (The Secret Museum of Mankind Vol. 5 - Ethnic Music Classics: 1925-48)
  • Untraced Artist 'Zaino ya Zaino' (From the film "Bint Zawat")
  • Untraced Artist 'Kahira' (The Secret Museum of Mankind Vol. 5 - Ethnic Music Classics: 1925-48)
  • Vaska Ilieva 'Air Da Ne Storish Majko' (Brass Pins and Pearls: International 78s)
  • Vera Filipova 'Kirajdjice Jabandjice' (Kindle Foundation blog. Transfer and restoration by Ian Nagoski)
  • Yahya Zarpanjeh 'Mahur' (A Century Of Tar 1: An Anthology of Contemporary Performance Styles)
  • Zabelle Panosian 'Groung' (To What Strange Place : The Music of The Ottoman-American Diaspora, 1916 - 1929)
  • Zaki Murad 'Groung' (To What Strange Place : The Music of The Ottoman-American Diaspora, 1916 - 1929)
  • Zoupansberg Brothers 'Hosi Yehina Masia' (The Secret Music Of Mankind: Music Of East Africa, Ethnic Music Classics 1925-1948)

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