Let Jasmine Rain Down: Song and Remembrance Among Syrian Jews [With *]

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Let Jasmine Rain Down: Song and Remembrance Among Syrian Jews [With *]

Kay Kaufman Shelemay

Publisher: University of Chicago PressFormat: Paperback

When Jews left Aleppo, Syria, in the early-20th century and established communities abroad, they carried with them a repertory of songs (pizmonim) with sacred Hebrew texts set to melodies borrrowed from the popular Middle Eastern Arab musical tradition. This text tells the story of the “pizmonim” as they have continued to be composed, performed and transformed through the present day; it is thus an ethnography of an important Judeo-Arabic musical tradition that contributes to studies of the link between collective memory and popular culture. Kay Kaufman Shelemay views the intersection of music, individual remembrances and collective memory through the “pizmonim”. Reconstructing a century of “pizmonim” history in America based on research in New York, Mexico and Israel, she explains how verbal and musical memories are embedded in individual songs and how these songs perform both what has been remembered and what otherwise would have been forgotten. In confronting issues of identity and meaning in a postmodern world, Shelemay moves ethnomusicology in to the domain of memory studies.

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