EOL 3: Mediterranean musicians in America (Signell)


Full disclosure of the author's immersion in the cultural context helps the reader judge how well the author understands everything related to that culture, including music. "Living" could range from "no previous encounter" to "native." "Language" can range from "none" to "native speaker." Musicianship can range for "none" to "recognized professional."

Except for Turkish classical musicians Necdet Yasar and Niyazi Sayin, I met all of the MNW musicians/informants for the first time when I recorded them. My previous exposure to their homeland culture seems relevant:


Living. Four years in Istanbul. 1965-67, as an instructor on the campus of an Turkish-American college (Amerikan Kiz Koleji, Arnavutköy, Istanbul); 1970-72, as an independent researcher, living in an apartment in the village of Bebek, Istanbul.

Language. Toward the end of my second stay in Istanbul, I spoke Turkish fluently enough to simultaneous translate for visiting scholars.

Musicianship. Talked with and heard Yasar and Sayin and other musicians perform frequently. Performed ney flute in a minor role at Konya Mevlana Festival and a few other concerts, and at least one Turkish recording. Studied baglama folk lute.


Living. Total immersion in Greek village life for three months folk music research in summer of 1967, mostly isolated from foreign contact.

Language. Two semesters intensive study with Greek music specialist Sam Chianis at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut. Adequate demotic conversational skills for communicating with villagers during summer stay.

Musicianship. Studied Greek music and dance with Sam Chianis for two semesters at Wesleyan University. In the field, learned a few tunes on floyera shepherd's flute, not directly relevant to this study.

South Slav

No living or language experience. Music Director of semi-professional Balkan dance ensemble Koleda in Seattle, Washington (1968-69), including Croatian chorus and tamburica ensemble. Longtime interest in recorded music of former Yugoslavia.


No living, language, or music experience, but I conversed with Baba Rexhep in Turkish, which he spoke fluently. Longtime interest in recorded music.


No living, language, or music experience.


Not Jewish faith, no Hebrew, no music experience.

Tales | Signell ToC | EOL 3