Note: Solecki talks about Yazidi village 250 miles north of Baghdad. They worship the devil instead of God because devil seen as needing propitiation. Alan Lomax: Historical background? Solecki: Same as Kurds, speak same Indo-European language, branched off in seventh century. Kurds called Gurti in Sumeria have been troubling river people for two thousand years. A hardy mountain people like the Scots highlanders. Footage of excavation of Shanadar Cave. Fixed field agriculture, tenant farmers, land belongs to Aga. Juxtaposition of dance, public assemblies, and work. Herki, a nomadic Kurdish people who practice transhumance from the plains of Mesapotamia to mountains in Persia and back. Some carry Kalashnikov rifles. Dance footage and shots of women spinning wool. Wheat harvest song. Alan Lomax comments on beauty of the footage. Work songs not much recorded, but always the best. Singing in chorus. Traditional wedding dance. Women not kept in purdah. Footage of man tending cradle. Further south men would be ashamed to do this task. Dance footage (noise on tape). Men dance shoulder to shoulder. Leader waves handkerchief. Leaping and intricate footsteps, almost like Greek dance. Footage of oasis north of Damascus. Escarpment near Lebanon. Workmen are Christians and some Muslims. Dance scene on plains of Iraq. Excavation at Yoband. House built by French. Erosion recent, caused by Turks in 1917 cutting down forest for railroad. People still remember forest. Wedding scene. Alan enthusiastic about beauty of footage, cites need for Murdock ratings. Asks if proof of virginity required for marriage, if women work along with men at harvest, remarks that the Turks made a desert of this place.
About the session: A conversation between Alan Lomax and R. Solecki about Kurdish and Middle Eastern music.
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