Palestinian Music and Song: Expression and Resistance since 1900

Palestinian Music and Song: Expression and Resistance since 1900

Palestinian Music and Song: Expression and Resistance since 1900

Palestinian Music and Song: Expression and Resistance since 1900

Synopsis

Drawing from a long history of indigenous traditions and incorporating diverse influences of surrounding cultures, music in Palestine and among the millions of Palestinians in diaspora offers a unique window on cultural and political events of the past century. From the perspective of scholars, performers, composers, and activists, Palestinian Music and Song examines the many ways in which music has been a force of representation, nation building, and social action. From the turn of the 20th century, when Palestine became an exotic object of fascination for missionaries and scholars, to 21st-century transnational collaborations in hip hop and new media, this volume traces the conflicting dynamics of history and tradition, innovation and change, power and resistance.

Excerpt

The story behind this anthology on Palestinian music and song commenced in the fall of 2007, following a number of meetings between Stig-Magnus Thorsén, a musicologist from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden; Heather Bursheh, a music educator from Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in Ramallah; Ahmad Al Khatib, a Palestinian ūd (lute) player and teacher based in Sweden; and Moslih Kanaaneh, an anthropologist from Birzeit University. These four initiators were motivated by their close familiarity with Palestinian society and culture resulting from many years of academic engagement in the Palestinian sociocultural context. They shared in common the awareness of the crucial role that music and song have played in the lives of Palestinians as well as in their nationalpolitical cause. At the same time the initiators were strongly aware of, and puzzled by, the unfamiliarity (or sometimes ideologically motivated negligence) of Western scholars and the general public with this particular component of Palestinian reality, due to the lack of scholarly work on Palestinian music and song in English or any other European language. The initiators were thus in agreement on the urgent need for a long-term multidisciplinary project aimed at the publication of a collection of scholarly essays in English on Palestinian music and song.

This realization and determination coincided with the Swedish Research Council’s expressed interest in promoting cooperation between institutions of higher . . .

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