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The Cacophonous History of the Ottoman Band of Jerusalem

Lecture by Michael Talbot

April 4, 2019
Thursday 4–5pm
BP Lecture Theatre
Free, booking essential. Tel: +44 (0)20 7323 8181 or book online here

British Museum, British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG


What can a photograph tell us about what the past sounded like? As it turns out, quite a lot. Michael Talbot, University of Greenwich, will explore the visual record of the band of the Ottoman military garrison in Jerusalem at the turn of the 20th century.

While official narratives in the press in Palestine praised the band as providing the patriotic soundtrack to state celebrations, photographs of them in action - and the reactions of their audiences - tell a rather different story. Zooming in on the details hidden in these wonderful photographs, we can move beyond the formal portraits and gushing prose of the propaganda of the state and think about what it might have been like to be in the crowd for formal state celebrations. Using a mix of photographs, newspapers, and musical recordings from over a century ago, the story of the Ottoman military band of Jerusalem allows us to see the history of that city and its populace in the late Ottoman period from a new angle.

Palestine Exploration Fund Free Lecture Series, jointly with ASTENE and in Association with the British Museum Dept. of the Middle East


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