DOWNLOAD: Stepan & Haigaz - Hop Pala
While much music released these days is closer to a fashion accessory than cultural identity, things used to be different. "Hop Pala," a haunting cut off a new three-disc set of music from the Ottoman-American diaspora between 1916-1929 curated by Ian Nagoski and released by curatorial masters Tompkins Square, is the soundtrack of immigration. We hear this music and think of places and times both strange and foreign, yet the compilation is called To What Strange Place because that place for these musicians was New York City. Artists like Stepan & Haigaz populated small pockets of major Manhattan neighborhoods and eventually Astoria, Queens. This was their folk music, a way to keep their unique culture alive in a strange new world, yet it's still resonant today.