Tuning Baghdad, an archiving project by Regine Basha, began in 1998 with collecting super-8mm home movies, cassettes and photocopies (view images from the collection). It has since grown as a music narrative through many formats — including the original documentary website, a radio show, live concerts, and an audio-visual presentation in collaboration with Michael Rakowitz’s Dar Al Sulh. It chronicles the rich and hidden Baghdadi music history from the 1920s till the late 1940s, a time when Jewish musicians were significant contributors to Iraq’s cultural heritage, through the Iraqi Maqam Chaghli Baghdad, and the founding of Iraq’s first National Radio Broadcast station by the Kuwaiti brothers. The Jewish community of Iraq dates back to Babylonian times and its displacement in the late 1940s also meant the displacement of one of the country’s beloved cultural forms and the end of a long-lived integrated community within an Arab culture. Upcoming are recent recordings by present-day Iraqi-Jewish musicians as well as a new story-telling sessions with individuals that grew up in Iraq, called Tea with Iraqi-Jews.
Tuning Baghdad is a broadcast channel within Basha Projects which sites the curatorial output of cultural producer Regine Basha. Basha Projects serves as both a virtual compendium of curated exhibitions, public interventions and writing from the past two decades, as well as a platform for two broadcast channels, Resident : Host and Tuning Baghdad.
Tuning Baghdad is made possible through collaboration with Basha’s father, a musician himself, Sol (Silman) Basha, David Basha, and production support from Marina Zamalin, Julieta Aranda, Jake Nussbaum, United Nations Plaza, Berlin (e-flux), as well as the advisory support of Dr. Ella Shohat, Michael Rakowitz and ethnomusicologists, Yeheskel Kojaman, and Abraham Marcus. This project and website is dedicated to my late father Solomon (Silman) Basha, 1925–2017.