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Diaspora 3:3 1994 Migrancy and Syncretism: A Turkish Musician in Stockholm Anders Hammarlund Swedish Broadcasting Company Rinkeby is a modern suburb in the northern outskirts of Stockholm . Standardized concrete façades, shopping centers, and subway stations are characteristic of the milieu. As late as the 1960s, Rinkeby , with its red-painted timber houses and grazing cows, could have been described as a typical Swedish farmstead. In the years around 1970, this rural idyll was reached by urban expansion, and an extensive system of big residential districts was laid out across meadows and forests. At that time, labor immigration to Sweden reached its climax, and Rinkeby soon developed into a multiethnic immigrant district. It became a symbol ofthe new complexity ofSwedish society; in fact, the "Rinkeby concept" (with both positive and negative connotations ) frequently figured in the public debate about immigrant and minority questions. Sociologists and linguists noticed the emergence of certain "rinkebyisms" in life-style and language, and it has been claimed that a kind of pidgin-Swedish is developing among the younger sections of the immigrant population. One day in August 1986, I was driving through northern Stockholm , heading for Rinkeby. A few weeks earlier a young Turkish immigrant, Fikret Çesmeli, had called me to ask if I was interested injoining a new musical ensemble that he was planning to form. He wanted to create a new kind ofmusic that, as he put it, would "blend Turkish and western traits, traditional and modern instruments." "Just playing the old tunes, singing the traditional songs is not enough, it doesn't work any more. I want to make a synthesis." Now he had organized a first meeting with the proposed members of the group. Drinking Turkish tea or Swedish coffee, we listened to Fikret singing and playing the baglama (long-necked lute), trying to grasp his musical intentions. Somebody also made a primitive cassette recording. After a few months, the new ensemble made its first public appearances in connection with cultural events arranged by local Turkish immigrant organizations. I decided to document the development of Fikret's ensemble and its music, and made it the focus ofmy research on the music ofTurkish immigrants in Sweden. In this essay, I will Diaspora 3:3 1994 summarize the experiences and conclusions from four years ofmusical involvement with Fikret and his Turkish-Swedish audience. Labor Migration and Migration Research The postwar labor migration peaked in the sixties and seventies as a consequence of the boom ofthe economies ofnorthwestern Europe . Millions ofunskilled workers were recruited in the weakly industrialized countries of southern and southeastern Europe and the adjacent parts of Asia and north Africa. This international migration initially was considered as a temporary, "guestworker" solution of the labor shortage in the industrial regions of the continent. But since most ofthe migrants have chosen to remain in their new environment , the ethnic and cultural situation in many countries has undergone profound change. This also applies to Sweden, where at the end of the eighties there were almost 700,000 immigrants. Together with their children and grandchildren—the second and third generations—the immigrant population in a broader sense amounted to more than a million out of a total population of about 8.5 million. Nevertheless, Sweden's share in the south-north migration was relatively small in comparison with countries like Germany or France, because most ofthe immigrants came from Finland and the other, culturally closely related Scandinavian countries. Of the culturally more alien groups, Yugoslavs, Turks, and Greeks were the most numerous. Many Swedes tended to regard only people belonging to those more "exotic" nationalities as invandrare ("immigrant") in the full sense ofthe word. Swedish society, prior to this big migration, is usually described as ethnically homogeneous, even if there were a few autochthonous minorities (Lapps, Finns). In the seventies, several research projects focusing on the immigration and its consequences were initiated in Sweden, as in many other European countries. Immigration authorities and other branches of the government experienced a growing need for knowledge about the immigrants and their background, and statesponsored institutions like the Swedish Commission for Immigrant Research were created. Most of these projects were carried out by sociologists and anthropologists, and...


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