Mark Gergis, a London-based Iraqi-American artist, producer, and audio-visual archivist, is known for compiling and producing dozens of internationally renown releases for the Sublime Frequencies and Sham Palace labels. With a special focus on folk, pop, and hybrid pop-folk genres, he has highlighted unique artists and traditions from Syria, Iraq, and Southeast Asia.
For his EastEast Radio Mix, Gergis compiled tracks from his project Syrian Cassette Archives, which aims to document hundreds of tapes he collected between 1997 and 2010. Featuring a wide range of styles, including recordings of live concerts, studio albums, soloists, children’s music, patriotic music, religious music, and many others, the project helps educate listeners about the music of Syrian Arabs, Assyrian, Kurds, and Armenians from the region. There is also a special focus on Iraqi cassettes and the regional folk-pop music that is popular at weddings, parties, and social gatherings. Through previews of this ongoing project, Gergis gives insights into the cultural and performance context of these recordings, shares some of the history of his journey as a collector, and illustrates the importance of documenting regional musics that are being altered by displacement.