The Hundred Thousand Fools of God: Musical Travels in Central Asia (and Queens, New York)

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Indiana University Press, 1996 - Music - 318 pages
1 Review

"This erudite, absorbing volume chronicles the travels of ethnomusicologist Theodore Levin through urban and rural Transoxania... He writes in evocative, imaginative, personalized prose that vividly captures the flavor of his everyday experiences, providing plush visual detail, trenchant character profiles, attention to perplexing local hospitality codes and the shaping hand of gender, throughout." -- Slavic Review

..". extremely informative, using music as a platform for a much wider discussion of cultural and political issues." -- Times Literary Supplement, London

"The subject is music, but Levin uses it to cast a wider light, revealing places of considerable sorrow long hidden in the shadows of Soviet power, and to create a travelogue with wide potential appeal.... Candor about his own uncertainties and personal struggles helps make this a personal as well as a scholarly adventure." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Not to be missed by those interested in music and world culture... " -- Library Journal

..". may be destined to become the definitive work on the music of this newly accessed region." -- Dirty Linen

The Hundred Thousand Fools of God assembles a living musical and ethnographic map by highlighting the fate of traditions, beliefs, and social relationships in Muslim and Jewish Central Asian cultures during and after seventy years of Soviet rule. Theodore Levin evokes the spectacular physical and human geography of the area and weaves a rich ethnography of the life styles, values, and art of the musical performers. Photographs, maps, and an accompanying CD (featuring 24 on-site recordings) make The Hundred Thousand Fools of God a unique reading and listening experience.

  

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User Review  - deliriumslibrarian - LibraryThing

I don't understand vast swatches of this book (haven't studied music since I was thirteen) but even the bits I don't get are fascinating. It's slow going but it's led me to some amazing musicians and a rich understanding of post-Soviet Central Asia. Read full review

The hundred thousand fools of God: musical travels in Central Asia (and Queens, New York)

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Those who think that ethnomusicology is a sedate pursuit should read this book. Levin (music, Dartmouth) recounts his travel and research experiences in exotic locations such as Tashkent, Bukhara, and ... Read full review

Contents

TASHKENT
1
Plan of the City
7
A Russian Composer Finds the East
14
The Last of the Jadids
22
Neofeudalism with a Human Face
30
Frozen Music
45
A Traditional Innovator
51
The Avatar of a Master
69
The Cupola of Islam Redux
106
Two Wedding Entertainers
115
Going West
128
A Traveler in Baysun
135
Baxshi Chic in Shirabad
146
Across the KaraKum
157
A Forbidden Vocation
242
An Apartment in Forest Hills
260

A Contralto and a Pop Queen
76
BUKHARA
85
Transoxania around 1850
87
A Drive to Bukhara
93
GLOSSARY
289
BIBLIOGRAPHIC AND DISCOGRAPHIC GUIDE
308
Copyright

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About the author (1996)

Theodore Levin is Associate Professor of Music at Dartmouth College. He began conducting musical and ethnographic research in Uzbekistan in 1978. His recordings of music from Central Asia and other parts of the former Soviet Union appear on Smithsonian Folkways, Nonesuch, Ocora, and other labels.

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