Experiencing Armenian Music in Turkey: An Ethnography of Musicultural Memory is structured to explore different domains of cultural memory encoded in and conveyed through Armenian musicking practices.
Burcu Yildiz discusses the sounds, performance practices and discourses in terms of her personal journey and multi-sited ethnographic experiences rather than as an attempt to describe Armenian music in Turkey. The author offers a critical look at various issues including historical framework on the possibilities of expression concerning Armenian music in Turkey; yerki bari khump (Song and Dance Ensemble) performances and choir singing as a cultural recovery of Istanbul Armenians; Gomidas Vartabed's legacy and the notion of 'the authenticity of Armenian music'; the performance of 'homeland' in diaspora via the musical identity and life story of Onnik Dinkjian; and the process of 'constructing self' by means of musical representation of Arto Tunçboyaciyan. Through in-depth ethnographic analysis, Yildiz sheds light on the musical plurality and thereby endeavor to understand the influence of hybridity and transnational circulation on Armenian music. The issue of Armenian musicking, which the author has discussed as carrier of cultural memory and a performative compound of identity, is simultaneously an expression of the loss experienced in 1915, and a means of dealing with that loss.
The book will be of interest to the students and academics not only in ethnomusicology but also anthropology and cultural studies.