“Lesvos at the Crossroads: the Soundscape of a Late Ottoman Island”

Fall Lecture I: Music Lecture and Demonstration
6:30 p.m. Thursday, September 28
Room 1 Payson Smith Hall, USM Portland 

This lecture/demonstration by Panayotis (Paddy) League, a recent Harvard University Ph.D. graduate, will explore a rare manuscript collection that was compiled in 1906 by an Ottoman Greek musician on the island of Lesvos and brought to Lynn, Massachusetts during the First Balkan War.

A fascinating musical snapshot of the sound-scape of turn-of-the century Ottoman Lesvos, the collection contains island dances, Ottoman art songs, European polkas and tangos, Romanian horas, and other pieces popular among the Greek, Turkish, Jewish, Armenian, and Levantine population of the island and the Asia Minor coast.

This music is a timely reminder of the pluralistic character of the late Ottoman world, and a sonic memorial to the refugees who, whether in 1923 or 2016, and whether headed West or East, crossed the Straight of Mytilene in search of a safer home and a more inclusive world.

Panayotis is an ethnomusicologist, performer, and composer specializing in the music, dance, and oral poetry traditions of insular Greece, northeastern Brazil, and Ireland. His dissertation at Harvard University, “Echoes of the Great Catastrophe,” examined the music traditions of Anatolian Greek migrants to the greater Boston area.

Maine audiences may remember him from his performance on Aug. 21at USM when he played violin, bouzouki, and sang with the Greek band, Skordalia, in the benefit concert for Lesvos Hospital Aid.

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