What are Armenians doing singing in the Turkish language in recordings issued by survivors of the Armenian genocide of 1915? Making a living in New York City while reliving the part of Armenian tradition that included performing for the widest audience possible in their Turkish homeland. In the spirit of cosmopolitan Istanbul, song styles based on Ottoman art music and Anatolian folk music flourished when transplanted to the Greek-owned nightclubs on New York City's Eighth Avenue. This disc collects a wide range of spirited performanced originally issued on 78-rpm recordings from kanun-master Kanuni Garbis Barkirgian, flamboyant vocalist Marko Melkon, Jewish violinist Nisham Sedefjian, Greek clarinetist John Pappas, and a host of other gifted entertainers. Without a doubt, these songs from the 1940s represent the high point of Armenian music recorded in the States.
AllMusic Review by Bob Tarte