Music as an Outlet for the Experience of Deterritorialization: The Trajectories of Refugee and Migrant Musicians in Turkey

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Ugur Zeynep GUVEN, Istanbul Medeniyet University, Turkey, Galatasaray University, Turkey
Migration movements have long been a key factor in analyzing Turkey’s sociocultural environment and transcultural music scenes. In addition to being a country, which represents at the same time a space of transit and a place of destination, Turkey now hosts the world’s largest Syrian community displaced by the war and ongoing conflict in their country. Due to the fact that new migratory flows and the dislocation of people are significantly occurring more than the last decade in the world, the experience of deterritorialization breaks out in different forms in the metropolises of Turkey, particularly in Istanbul. Music as an artistic way of expressing the self, is one those forms. Therefore, the main objective of this paper is to question the exclusion and precarity that the refuges and migrant people face throughout the evaluation of their public performances and concerts. This paper further aims to discover the exposition of an unresolved liminality and the consciousness of being the other at these concerts. In addition to the findings of the in-depth interviews realized with Arabic and African migrant musicians performing on the streets of Istanbul, this study presents a through analysis of the transcultural musical activities that took place within cultural projects and independent performances in 2016 and 2017 in Turkey. The main findings reveal that the refugees and immigrants use music as an outlet for their uprootedness, despair and wrathfulness. This study also highlights that the main purpose of these musicians is to find a temporary comfort and strength with their local tunes and to make some money for survival. This paper further discusses how the migrants use music to engage in public discourse and how they consider these performances as a way of enhancing a dialogue among non-migrant and migrant community and developing awareness within the larger society.