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Fonotopia with Ian Nagoski

Series produced by Fonotopia Radio

Series image

Welcome to Fonotopia – the world on record.

Fonotopia will resurrect the most beautiful music recorded on 78 rpm discs during the first decades of the 20th century.

Ian Nagoski loves this music to death. The vast scope of his knowledge about it is scary. He tells funny stories. He’ll be your host.

Each week, Ian will bring you an hour of resurrected gems tied to a theme. Some themes are specific -- like virtuosic vocalists. Some are grand -- like "life."

And the songs? Oh, the songs! Middle Eastern oud masters driving dancers into a frenzy? Romanian cantors memorializing Holocaust victims? American country legends leaving aural suicide notes? Portuguese fado singers celebrating the dignity of the poor? We don’t discriminate. If it’s astounding and it was recorded, you’ll hear it and you’ll learn the story of the people and culture that made it.

Fonotopia is a radio show hosted by Ian Nagoski and produced by Lawrence Lanahan and Bruce Wallace. It focuses on early 20th century music from around the world, and tells the stories of the people and cultures behind the music.

Nagoski is a musicologist and the founder of Canary Records. His avocation is inspiring people who love music to love it more.

In 2007 Ian released Black Mirror, a collection of gripping folk and devotional music recorded between 1918 and 1954 in Syria, Bali, Scotland, Yugoslavia, Cameroon, and a dozen or so other countries. It was released on Grammy-winning label Dust-to-Digital (Goodbye Babylon); Baltimore’s City Paper called it “enigmatic, transfixing, haunting, pretty, and just plain odd,” and the Kronos Quartet began performing a piece from it. The academic journal Ethnomusicology lauded it as an exceptional collection, despite having been made for the general public.

Nagoski followed Black Mirror with A String of Pearls, on his own label, Canary Records (manufactured and distributed by Mississippi Records of Portland, OR) and released a licensed vinyl version of the ARKO CD Mortika: Recordings From a Greek Underworld, compiled by Charles Howard and annotated by Tony Klein. The album includes music from the pre-WWII Greek underworld of outlaws, hash smokers, and smooth operators. Canary’s upcoming releases include surveys of superlative recordings of the singers Marika Papagika and Abdul Karim Khan, and the music of American immigrants from the Ottoman Empire.

Ian is also a writer, who has contributed to dozens of magazines and blogs, including a recently-published feature on under-the-radar ethnic record stores in Baltimore as well as infrequent posts at the Arthur blog.
Send us an e-mail at fonotopiaradio@gmail.com. Hide full description

Fonotopia is a radio show hosted by Ian Nagoski and produced by Lawrence Lanahan and Bruce Wallace. It focuses on early 20th century music from around the world, and tells the stories of the people and cultures behind the music.Nagoski is a musicologist and the founder of Canary Records. His avocation is inspiring people who love music to love it more.In 2007 Ian released Black Mirror, a collection of gripping folk and devotional music recorded between 1918 and 1954 in Syria, Bali, Scotland, Yugoslavia, Cameroon, and a dozen or so other countries. It was released on Grammy-winning label Dust-to-Digital (Goodbye Babylon); Baltimore’s City Paper called it “enigmatic, transfixing, haunting, pretty, and just plain odd,” and the Kronos Quartet began performing a piece from it. The academic... Show full description


4 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: Okeh Laughing Record
The agony, the ecstasy, the all, the nothing, the becoming, the existing, the decaying. Yup: life, expressed in 59 minutes of music from all corner...

  • Added: Aug 11, 2010
  • Length: 59:02
Piece image
In this episode, Ian takes you from Mozart’s grandparents to the last days of the Turkish Pretty Boy Floyd. The Ottoman Empire was vast. Think of a...

  • Added: Aug 10, 2010
  • Length: 59:01
Caption: Brother Claude Ely
Lance Ledbetter of the Grammy-winning Dust-to-Digital label joins Ian to explore the sounds, stories, and sermons of early Southern gospel music. S...

  • Added: Aug 10, 2010
  • Length: 59:00
Caption: Nissar Hussain Khan
We travel to India, Switzerland, East Texas, and South New Jersey on the trail of some of the finest examples of that most universal and ancient of...

  • Added: Aug 10, 2010
  • Length: 59:00