Echoes of the Great Catastrophe
Re-Sounding Anatolian Greekness in Diaspora
A multi-sited exploration of the musical legacy of the Anatolian Greek diaspora
Echoes of the Great Catastrophe: Re-sounding Anatolian Greekness in Diaspora explores the legacy of the Great Catastrophe—the death and expulsion from Turkey of 1.5 million Greek Christians following the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–1922—through the music and dance practices of Greek refugees and their descendants over the last one hundred years. The book draws extensively on original ethnographic research conducted in Greece (on the island of Lesvos in particular) and in the Greater Boston area, as well as on the author’s lifetime immersion in the North American Greek diaspora. Through analysis of handwritten music manuscripts, homemade audio recordings, and contemporary live performances, the book traces the routes of repertoire and style over generations and back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean, investigating the ways that the particular musical traditions of the Anatolian Greek community have contributed to their understanding of their place in the global Greek diaspora and the wider post-Ottoman world. Alternating between fine-grained musicological analysis and engaging narrative prose, it fills a lacuna in scholarship on the transnational Greek experience.
Panayotis F. League is Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology and Director of the Center for Music of the Americas at Florida State University.
Praise / Awards
“League’s polytemporal and multi-sited ethnography listens to musics within the Anatolian Greek diaspora, offering a far-reaching understanding of musical intercommunality. By centering relationship and personhood, League lets musicians Dean Lampros, Sophia Bilides, and members of the remarkable Kereakoglow and Kyriakoglu family become our teachers. This book is a timely meditation on the sounds, material traces, and insights that flow from a century of negotiation with a difficult and traumatic past, wherein future-looking nostalgias cultivate new modes of empathizing across difference.”
—Denise Gill, Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology, Stanford University
“This groundbreaking book demonstrates the value of music and dance as a social practice and metaphor for a pluralistic ethos of living. Panayotis League’s transnational ethnography and archival research combine a scholar’s and musician’s skills and sensibilities to explore the music of the Anatolian Greeks and their diaspora in New England. Transregional, transcultural, and intergenerational in scope, spanning the twentieth century to the present, Echoes of the Great Catastrophe opens new imaginative venues about the meaning of living with and across difference today.”
—Yiorgos Anagnostou, Modern Greek Program, Ohio State University
"League has written a book that all lovers of Anatolian Greek music should be grateful for. He is a an excellent storyteller, and combines that skill with a thorough knowledge of the music he writes about and the people who perform it. He demonstrates the power of music to recreate an otherwise inaccessible past, enabling Anatolian Greeks to imaginatively engage with their ancestors and the lost intercommunal world of late Ottoman society."
—Journal of Modern Greek Studies,
"Rarely does there emerge an ethnographer whose description and analysis strike so close to the beating heart of the topic that readers palpably experience its beauty and pain. Panayotis League is such a writer. In Echoes of the Great Catastrophe: Re-sounding Anatolian Greekness in Diaspora, League explores the ways that musical traditions from the island of Lesvos have reflected and mediated shifting identities both in Lesvos and in its diaspora. In the process, he touches upon the essence of diaspora—to be exiled from what is perceived as home and thus impelled to constantly re-create it."
—Journal of American Folklore
Awarded Society for American Music (SAM) H. Earle Johnson Book Publication Subvention
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News, Reviews, Interviews
League discusses Echoes of the Great Catastrophe
on NewBooksNetwork | 10/4/2021
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