Music and Dance of Imagined Ancestors in (Re)constructing Afro-Turkish Collective Identity: Observations from the Revived Calf Festival in Izmir, Turkey


Third Symposium of the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) Study Group on Music and Dance in Southern Europe, Üsküp-Berovo, Macedonia, 17 April 2014, pp.192-198

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • City: Üsküp-Berovo
  • Country: Macedonia
  • Page Numbers: pp.192-198


This paper mainly aims to present a case where Afro-Turk identity- a rather 'invisible' collective identity- is attempted to be (re)constructed through the revival of the 'calf festival', a pagan festival celebrated by the first generations of black slaves brought to Anatolia in the Ottoman Era. The paper is based on interviews and very limited literature on Afro-Turks, but mostly on the observaitons made during the revived festival where a group of African- Americans and a group of Afro-Turks experienced a cultural exchange in İzmir, Turkey. The paper firstly argues the 'invisibility' of Afro-Turks and efforts to (re) construct Afro-Turk identity. Secondly, the observations are reported in terms of how African music and dance were performed, participated and reacted by African-Americans and Afro-Turks during the festival. In the conclusion, the potential contribution of the revived festival to the (re)construction of Aro-Turk identity is disscussed by analysing the data collected.