A Conversation with Mark Gergis
'Syrian Cassette Archives' is an ongoing project aiming to document what can be called Syria’s cassette era, dating from the 1980s to the present day. At the heart of the collection are 400+ audio tapes acquired by audio archivist Mark Gergis between 1997 and 2010, reflecting years of research and personal connections with local music shops, producers, distributors and musicians around the country. The archive is continually in motion: since its launch, it has acquired over 200 additional cassettes from donors and collaborators within and beyond Syria. Alongside the effort to archive, preserve and share these materials, the project also conducts oral histories and interviews with key individuals, providing a window into Syria’s broad and eclectic pre-war listening landscape and music networks.
Mark Gergis is an Iraqi-American producer, musician and audio-visual archivist known for his global music releases on the Sublime Frequencies label, among others. Since the early 2000s, his cultural work has focused on regional folk-pop music from the Middle East and Southeast Asia, including regional choubi and dabke (folk and pop) music from Iraq and Syria, as well as the musical outputs of diaspora Asian communities in the United States during the mid-to-late 20th century.
This event is part of the Cambridge Festival 2021