Music and the Armenian Diaspora

Searching for Home in Exile

by Sylvia Angelique Alajaji

Published by: Indiana University Press

210 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in, 6 b&w illus., 10 audio

  • Paperback
  • 9780253017611
  • Published: September 2015


  • Hardcover
  • 9780253017550
  • Published: September 2015


  • eBook
  • 9780253017765
  • Published: September 2015


Survivors of the Armenian genocide of 1915 and their descendants have used music to adjust to a life in exile and counter fears of obscurity. In this nuanced and richly detailed study, Sylvia Angelique Alajaji shows how the boundaries of Armenian music and identity have been continually redrawn: from the identification of folk music with an emergent Armenian nationalism under Ottoman rule to the early postgenocide diaspora community of Armenian musicians in New York, a more self-consciously nationalist musical tradition that emerged in Armenian communities in Lebanon, and more recent clashes over music and politics in California. Alajaji offers a critical look at the complex and multilayered forces that shape identity within communities in exile, demonstrating that music is deeply enmeshed in these processes. Multimedia components available online include video and audio recordings to accompany each case study.