CRETAN MUSLIMS AND THEIR MUSICAL TRADITIONS: TRAJECTORIES OF THE MEMORY AND OBLIVION FROM CRETE TO TURKEY
Since the late period of Ottoman rule in Crete, Muslim Cretans had cultivated musical traditions oriented to Ottoman art music (fasil), devotional religious music and traditional Cretan music of urban areas. When Muslim Cretans arrived in Asia Minor after the 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey, they tried to become integrated into the Turkish Republic and, at the same time, they sought to maintain their cultural traditions employing music as a means of empowering a separate cultural identity. In the context of the cultural policies of homogenizing the cultural traditions of the new republic, Turkish elites imposed the marginalization of non-Turkish lyrics and the melodies of minorities’ songs into mainstream national music. Since Cretan songs with Greek-language mantinades were regarded as a cultural sign of a national otherness that deviated from the ideals of the newly created Turkish folk song, the musical traditions of Muslim Cretans and the practice of improvising new mantinades started to fade and have gradually been buried in oblivion. The paper investigates the impacts of the dominant nationalist discourses on identity and the musical traditions of Cretan Muslims, underlines the silence of the primary written sources, and explores the politics of oblivion that marked the cultural history of the group during the 20th century.