Echoes of the Great Catastrophe

Re-Sounding Anatolian Greekness in Diaspora
Panayotis League

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

  • Awarded the H. Earle Johnson Book Publication Subvention by the Society for American Music

Supplemental Materials

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News, Reviews, Interviews

Listen: League discusses Echoes of the Great Catastrophe on NewBooksNetwork | 10/4/2021

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 200pp.
  • 12 illustrations, 3 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2021
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-13268-3

Add to Cart
  • $65.00 U.S.

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  • Greek music; Asia Minor; Greek Americans; Ottoman music; Ottoman ecumene; makam; music paleography; Anatolia; Lesvos; modal music of the Eastern Mediterranean; ethnomusicology; Greek diaspora; home recordings; DIY music; notation of Ottoman music; Greek refugees; Balkan music; Mytilene; musical ethnography; Asia Minor Greeks; musical hybridity; santouri; folklore; tape culture; festivals