Various Artists

Great Voices of Constantinople: 1927-1933

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Rare popular 78s recorded in Athens and Constantinople in the late '20s and early '30s, most of the 23 tracks attributed to Andonios Dalgas (who recorded in Athens and sang in Greek) or Hafiz Burhan (who recorded in Constantinople and sang in Turkish). The title is a bit misleading; it's a combination of vintage Greek and Turkish music, not solely Turkish as you might assume, although Dalgas was born in Constantinople. It's mostly melancholy material with considerable variety in the arrangements, employing oud, lyra, and saz, as well as less exotic (to Western ears) instruments such as violin, guitar, and accordion. The vocalists emote in an Aeolian style that might nowadays be considered unbecomingly grandiose, although they at the same time project a sense of dignity. The sound is as good as could be expected with transfers from old 78s, though much surface noise is still audible.

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