Musical Archives of the Midwest Mahjar | Richard Breaux


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E494 | Richard Breaux needed a hobby. He began collecting 78 rpm records as a break from his work as a professor of Ethnic and Racial Studies at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. But when he stumbled upon a trove of Arabic language records at an estate sale, his hobby became a scholarly project of its own to document and reconstruct the history of the Arab diaspora in La Crosse, Wisconsin and the Greater Midwestern United States. In this episode, we talk about the history of early 78 rpm Arabic records in the United States, the people who owned them, and the story of a forgotten center of the Midwest Mahjar. More at Richard Breaux is an Associate Professor of Ethnic & Racial Studies. He has published in the Journal of African American History, Great Plains Quarterly, the Journal of Pan-African Studies, and the Journal of African American Studies. He is currently working on a book manuscript on La Crosse's Syrian and Lebanese Community and has a forthcoming chapter on music in Mahjari Arts & Letters Movement due to be out later this year. CREDITS Episode No. 494 Release Date: 22 February 2021 Recording Location: La Crosse, WI / Charlottesville, VA Sound production by Sam Dolbee and Chris Gratien Music: Zé Trigueiros Digitized records (by order of first appearance): Wardatone - Koulta Ghanny; Jamili Matouk - Min Aouilha; Louis Wardini - Shams Il Shamousy; Assad Dakroub - Woudah El Habib; Fadwa Obeid - Shab Haelewa; Pauline Ferris Wedding Images and bibliography at

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