Archives for posts with tag: israel

The influence of Music on a developing Jewish identity
Max Kazer

Introduction

  1. Juggling
  2. My background
  3. Big question: What are the types of themes that emerge in Israeli music that help to forge a unique Jewish identity?

Synagogue

Themes

  1. Oral tradition
  2. Liturgical music
  3. Hine Ma Tov

Meanings

  1. Diversity of Jewish rituals
  2. Connection with religious text
  3. Memoirs of Glikl Hameln

Jewish Camp

Themes

  1. Zionism & Aliyah
  2. Kibbutz-style communal singing
  3. Splendor Bridge

Meanings

  1. Connection with Israel
  2. Sense of belonging in a collective

Summer in Israel

Themes

  1. Unity within diversity
  2. Hatikvah

Meanings

  1. Diasporic origins of Jewish people
  2. Endurance & Optimism
  3. Ruth Behar, An Island Called Home
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Russian Jewry: The Effect of Immigration on Israeli Music
Aaron Miller

1. Background

  • Believed Jews could have arrived in modern day Azerbaijan, Armenia
  • Driven out of Western Europe and persecuted in Germany, accepted and Dagestan, Russia around 8th century BCE from Babylon/Iran
  • Driven out of Western Europe and persecuted in Germany, accepted invitation to settle in Poland
  • Lived in shtetls (small Jewish communities) under halakhah rule
  • Muscovite Russia expanded into Eastern Europe, took over Polish Lithuanian lands in 1790s

2. Pale of Settlement

  • Catherine II: fearful of dissolution of Russian nationality, autocracy, and orthodoxy; separates Catholic, Jewish populations
  • Jews begin adopting language, customs
  • BUT life in the shtlets was not good, blamed for rebellions like Decembrist Uprising, etc., double taxation

3. Musical Influences in the Pale

  • Gusli: oldest Russian plucked string instrument
  • Klezmer: Ashkenazi musical tradition meant to complement liturgical and paraliturgical singing with expressive melodies reminiscent of the human voice
  • SHOW VIDEO CLIP #1
  • SHOW VIDEO CLIP #2

4. The First Aliyah

  • Majority of Jews in the world at the end of the 19th century lived in Russian Empire
  • May Laws passed and Jews were xompletely expelled from Kiev and Moscow
  • Hibbat Zion: pre-Zionist movement advocating revival of Jewish life and physical development of the land of Israel
  • Bilu: movement whose goal was the agricultural settlement (eventually joining Hibbat in founding Rishon LeZion)
  • Early conditions were harsh: marshy land, Turk tax, Arab opposition

5. Music in a Foreign Land

  • First major influence on music in Israel outside of locale
  • Although this performance by singer and actress Tova Piron is from 1947 it is exemplary of the trend of Hebrew lyrics on top of foreign (specifically Russian lyrics)
  • SHOW VIDEO CLIP #3

6. Second and Third Aliyahs

  • Arrived in the wake of more pogroms before the war, halted during the war, and then arrived again after the British mandate and Balfour Declaration promising a national home for Jewish people
  • Collective, agricultural communities that combined a mix of Zionistic and socialist beliefs

7. Purposeful Music

  • Haggadah texts (which are used to to set forth the order of the Passover Seder) set to Russian folk styles by Russian born composers like Postolsky’s “We were Pharaoh’s bondsmen in Egypt”
  • PLAY ITUNES SONG #1

8. Society of Jewish Folk Music

  • Much of its importance lies in the fact that pretty much every organization for the promotion of Jewish music followed its methods: it sought to collect folk songs and harmonize them to aid Jewish composers and promote the R&D of religious and secular Jewish folk music
  • Most of them being students at the conservatory there
  • SHOW VIDEO CLIP #4
  • Joel Engel played a key role in its success as he had already formed an important circle of Jewish musicians
  • Founded similar societies elsewhere (Juwal-Verlag in Berlin)

9. Post-Soviet Aliyah

  • During the soviet regime, mass emigration was politically undesirable so the only acceptable reason was for family reunification (generally for elders)
  • One’s family had to quit their jobs just to apply
  • More than a million to Israel b/c US stopped granting unconditional refugee status to Soviet Jews in 1989
  • No attempt to assimilate the Eastern Ashkenazi folk music of the Russian Jews who survived the Cold War

10. Unassimilated High Culture

  • Danced at Russian discotheques, went out with Russians (could’ve been due to large size w/ neighborhoods of tens of thousands)
  • Yet, interestingly enough, according to a study done by Marina Niznik of Tel Aviv University…

11. Russian-Influenced Symphonic Orchestras

  • However many have not adopted a new Jewish (Hebrewist) or Middle Eastern style like the Germans Jewish immigrants did to represent their new national identity
  • Earlier this year, in June, the Israel Philharomnic Orchestra performed a concert comprised of an all-Russian program

Yasmin Levy and the Politics of Performing Sephardic Identity

Christina Azahar

Inventing Sephardic Traditions from 1492 to the Early Twentieth Century

  • Expulsion of Jews from Spain during the Inquisition leads to formation of Sephardic cultural identity through experiences of transnationalism and diaspora
  • Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) popular songs surrounded by myth and often falsely thought to have origins in Medieval Spain
  • Scholars begin to collect oral musical traditions at the beginning of the twentieth century, categorizing them into romances, life cycle songs, and calendar cycle songs – often adding changes when transcribed

Isaac Levy and the Sephardic Song Revival

  • Collects Sephardic popular songs from 1950s and 1970s and publishes several collections of transcriptions and recordings that become the basis for late productions of Sephardic popular music
  • Work at Jewish national radio influences orientalist tendency to want to Mediterraneanize Israeli national culture

Yasmin Levy: Performing Sephardic Traditions for the World

  • Grew up in Jerusalem and was exposed to a wide variety of cultures and musical practices which she incorporates into her interpretations of her father’s repertoire as well as her original compositions
  • Eclectic performance style makes her music easily communicable across cultures and languages, but her blurring of cultural and linguistic distinction removes her output from the nationalist project of her father’s work by framing Sephardic popular music as a tradition intended for all people

Example:

Una pastora – Combined Recording of Isaac and Yasmin Levy

Popular Music: Famous Israeli Songs in Israel and Around the World
Xulan Zhang

Objective:

Through this presentation, we’ll explore topic of how certain Israeli songs become famous worldwide and the preserve and transformation of performance form, context and people’s interpretation of these songs when they went “globalized”.  And try to answer the question: Is the music a universal  language or a mirror that reflects the difference between different cultures?

Case 1:  Donna Donna

Origin: Yiddish theater song written in the time of Nazi

Performance form: a duo of a man and a woman, choral with the orchestral accompaniment

Became popular when American country music singer Joan Baez performed it in English with guitar.

Represented spirit of freedom in Israel during the WWII.

Became a worldwide symbolic song for people who are pursuing freedom.

Case 2: Hallelujah

Origin: sung by the Israeli band Hakol Over Habibi for 1978’s Eurovision’s competition

Became popular when it was performed by Gali Atari and Milk & Honey song in 1979 and won the competition for Israel as the hosting country

Performance form: alternate among 1 female voice and 3 male voices

The song roused the national pride in successfully winning and hosting Eurovision Competition.

Case 3: Diva

Origin: sung by Dana International, an Israeli transsexual singer

Performance form: It was originally only performed in the form of singing on the competition but later on was added the dancing part

Became highly popular after Dana International performed this song in Eurovision 1998.

But in its own country, Dana International’s big success triggered controversy.

Conclusion: Through these three different cases, I see music’s role both as a universal language that connects people from different culture and a mirror that reflects cultural gap.

Resources:

Text:

  1. Regev, Motti and Edwin Seroussi , Popular Music and National Culture in Israel
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donna_Donna  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallelujah_(Gali_Atari_and_Milk_%26_Honey_song)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diva_(Dana_International_song)

  1. http://www.metrolyrics.com/donna-donna-lyrics-joan-baez.html

http://www.metrolyrics.com/diva-lyrics-dana-international.html

  1. http://www.hebrewsongs.com/?song=haleluyah-eurovision
  2. http://members3.jcom.home.ne.jp/goetheschubert/Donaenglish.htm
  3. http://www.friendsreunited.com/dana-international-diva/Memory/69dd2604-4ae2-41ed-8453-a1b900fbd9de

Video:

  1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqzGZ5AaeSs
  2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C33kO3fvjkI
  3. http://www.friendsreunited.com/dana-international-diva/Memory/69dd2604-4ae2-41ed-8453-a1b900fbd9de

 

 

 

Musical Instruments in Israel
Presented by Karen Lin and Allan Tang

As you listen to our presentation, focus on this question- The musical instruments involved in the making of “Jewish music” are as diverse as the Jewish people themselves. How are these four instruments instrumental to the representation of music in Israel?

Violin

History
-Descendant of the viol, an instrument of 15th century Spain
-Jews contributed to the development of violin in Italy.
-Emergence of violin coincides with Jewish migration from Spain to Italy.

Why are Jews so fond of the violin?
-Violin prevalent in media that attempts to represent the Jewish culture
​-Schindler’s List theme employs solo violin
​-The Fiddler on the Roof represents the “precariousness” of Jewish society
-Versatile, intense, passionate instrument that expresses Jewish emotions and experience
-“Ticket into the big city”-Violin linked to Hope because of the many possibilities for an orchestra job in the city.
-Like Asians and pianos, most young Jews had to take up the violin or lose to the “kid next door”

How is the Arabic violin different from its European counterpart?
-Called “kaman” in Arabic
-Adopted from Europe during second half of 19th century
-Suited for maqam, due to its lack of frets
-Moroccans play “gamba style,” placing the violin on their laps
-Tuned in fourths and fifths (GDGD), played in ornate style, can sound nasal and penetrating

Who are some famous Jewish Violinists?
-Miri Ben-Ari, hip-hop
-Itzhak Perlman and Isaac Stern, classical

Oud

History
– Originate from another Persian instrument called the barbat, dating back to the Sassanid (Persian) empire in 224 A.D.
– Spread to Andalusia, or present day Spain most likely through Islamic conquests
– 1492 Spanish Inquisition resulting in European adaptation of the lute and the exile of Jews from Spain to Northern Africa and the Middle East.

– the ud was considered the king of musical instruments in the Arab world
​- versatility, popularity
– can be played in two distinctive styles: Ottoman and Egyptian
Al-Farid – Egyptian style: http://www.mikeouds.com/audio/farido1.mp3
Yair Dalal – Ottoman style

Symbolism
– known for its calming, healing, and meditative properties
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jwl9QJWq-2o&feature=youtu.be&t=1m6s
– symbol of tranquility: “the ud invigorates the body…It calms and revives hearts” (Grove)
– structure of harmonious proportions

Yair Dalal
– representing Israel and Middle Eastern cultures, fusing them through music
– peace activist between the two cultures
– Opinion: use of the ud as a symbol of peace

Ud in Shaping Israeli History
– Erza Aharon: ud player and singer who immigrated to Jerusalem in 1934
​- created a small radio program called “Sounds of the East”
​- “wished to provide the Arabic music with a new national Jewish style, encompassing Hebrew texts, western instruments, and harmonization” (Hirshberg 198-199)
– Early Hebrew songs were translated from Arabic, ud suitable to back up singing

Shofar

History
– only Jewish liturgical instrument that survived the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 CE.
– made out of a ram’s horn

Symbolism
– Ties to the Binding of Isaac
​- (From Genesis 22) Story of a ram sacrificed in place of Isaac, son of Abraham
– Mount Sinai
​- (From Exodus 16) Story of when God descended and gave Moses the ten commandments.
– Played during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
– Sounding of War

Sounds of the Shofar

– tekiah: broken interrupted sound
– shevarim: three triplet blasts, like three shorter tekiah
– terual: nine staccato short notes
– tekiah gedolah: held as long as possible

Qanun

History
-Descendant of the Egyptian harp, dating back to the 10th century
-Means “law,” “rule,” or “norm” in Arabic and establishes the law of pitch for other instruments and singers
-Meant to play in Maqamat (Arabic mode)

Symbolism
-Concertino for Kanun (Qanun), English Horn, Clarinet, Strings and Percussion, Op. 292 (1959) is written by famous Jewish composer Marc Lavry for Iraqi qanun player Avraham David Cohen, who immigrated to Israel in 1949. The piece uses Western harmony but features a traditional Arabic instrument
-Represents the Jewish craft of creative improvisation and absorption of different styles, as the wandering klezmer ensembles did in Europe.

Ali Amr
-Grew up amid war in Ramallah, Palestine (just north of Jerusalem), overcame many logistical difficulties just to attend Berklee College of Music in America
-”Music was my support through it all. I was really influenced by war to create music, and by music to fight against war…Music is peace.”
-Composes his own music, fusing Arabic elements with jazz
-Also a vocalist, singing in traditional style

References
Violin
Jews and the Violin: http://www.jpost.com/Magazine/Features/Did-Jews-invent-the-violin
History: https://www.google.com/search?q=violin+history&espv=210&es_sm=93&source=lnms&sa=X&ei=XmiNUon3FIv8iQK1-IH4CQ&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAA&biw=1517&bih=755&dpr=0.9
Brief introduction to Arabic instruments: http://www.maqamworld.com/instruments.html

Ud
Yair Dalal biography: http://www.yairdalal.com/index.php/en/biography.html
Grove entry on the Ud: http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/28694.
Grove entry on Iran including information on the barbat: http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/13895#S13895.2.5
Garland Encyclopedia on the Ud: http://glnd.alexanderstreet.com/view/330282
Yair Dalal history of the oud and its healing properties: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jwl9QJWq-2o
Erza Aharon Entry in the Hirshberg:
Hirshberg, Jehoash. “Westerners Meet Arabic Music.” Music in the Jewish Community of Palestine, 1880-1948: A Social History. Oxford: Clarendon, 1995. 198-99. Print.

Shofar
Shofar, its use and its origins [book], requires Berkeley library: https://babel.hathitrust.org/shcgi/pt?id=mdp.39015007926341;view=1up;seq=6
Meaning of the Shofar (also in the shofar book, but with interpretation):
http://ohr.edu/1191
Pitches and Notes of the Shofar: http://www.musicofthebible.com/extra_shofar.htm
Exodus 19: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+19&version=NIV
Genesis 22: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+22&version=NIV
Rosh Hashanah information:
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/holiday2.html
http://www.jpost.com/Jewish-World/Judaism/Rosh-Hashana-The-sound-of-the-shofar-325263

Youtube links on people’s opinion on the meaning of the shofar, accuracy is unknown and used as supplement/interesting information:

Qanun
Concertino for Qanun: http://www.marclavry.org/2011/03/16/concertino-for-kanun-qanun-english-horn-clarinet-strings-percussion-op-292/
http://www.thejerusalemfund.org/ht/d/EventDetails/i/38590/pid/187
Ali Amr profile: http://www.berklee.edu/news/627/student-profile-ali-amr
Jewish musical identity: http://books.google.com/books?id=b9ST9c-7_z0C&pg=PA18&lpg=PA18&dq=qanun+in+jewish+society&source=bl&ots=sJcMta_J0n&sig=JZpOf0R6FV68_oBt7HZ89PdmhJc&hl=en&sa=X&ei=7AWNUrm7DYHqiwLNtoCwCg&ved=0CDsQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=qanun%20in%20jewish%20society&f=false
Brief history: http://www.sarahmichael53.com/about-the-qanun.html

Punk Rock in Israel
Daniel Cohen

History of punk rock, core elements / philosophy, development in Israel
Global roots
o Developed between 1974-1976 (early 70s) in US, UK, Australia
o Derived from garage rock/ protopunk
o Second wave of punk is 1970s, spread throughout rest of Europe and in Asia
Common point in British/American punk: inner cities left to rot
o Allowed intermingling of young people, artists, squatters
o Sick of being ignored and fed up with the post war complacency
Core elements/ philosophy
o Do-it Yourself (DIY) ethic; self produced / distributed
o Musical virtuosity not required (in fact looked at suspiciously); ‘fast and ‘loud’
Development of rock / punk in Israel
o Rock represented rejection of nationalist culture, came to mark openness to dialogue, change
o By 1980s it was dominant form of pop culture in Israel, by 1990s it was compromised by a number of scenes/styles/textures
o Mid-1980s: Tel Aviv became hot-spot for ‘alternative’ rock or that with ‘cutting edge of aesthetic and stylistic innovation in rock’ (Regev-Seroussi pg. 175); post-punk and new-wave rock styles thrived.
o First Intifada (1987-1991) seemed to set the stage for development of punk in Israel; youths fed up of all the violence/ complacency. This was the Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

Nature of punk rock in Israel
Punk & Politics
o Punk about protest, freedom, speaking your own mind; believe there is too much apathy in Israel
Israel/Palestine conflict & mandatory military service
o Many punks are youths required to serve in Army, many defy joining by claiming insanity
o Some punks work in the army middle of the week and go to shows to let loose on weekends
o Most punk music supports the Palestinian people (not the Palestinian politicians), are against the occupation, yet have close connection with Israel
o Directly affected by bombings, conflict; leads to fear, frustration, depression, cynicism. Punk life provides ‘escapism’ for every day life.
Israeli punk & religion
o Many punks are not religious, but identify as being Jewish
o Tend to be against religious oppression in any culture, disagree with Orthodox customs and pushing beliefs or customs on people
Generally have positive outlook, optimistic and believe their music and voices are necessary for change

Israeli punk rock sounds / examples

  • State of Fear by Useless I.D. (English vocals); more global appeal with English lyrics, have toured around the world
  • Radio lo chaver (Radio’s Not A Friend) by Beer7; female vocal lead, paved way for female punks – music video shows light spirited antics of punk rock
  • Mi Aatam by Chaos Rabak; popular punk band in Israel, style reminiscent of UK late 70s punk rock

Discussion/ open question:
Does the notion of ‘globalized Israeliness’ imply that music, specifically musical genres such as punk, are universal in that they translate seamlessly from one culture to another? How does punk in Israel support or refute your claims?

Note: ‘globalized Israeliness’ is a mixture of Hebrewism and effects of globalization of culture, according to Regev & Seroussi.

References:
Christgau, Robert, “Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk, by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain” (review), New York Times Book Review, 1996. Retrieved
on January 17, 2007. http://www.robertchristgau.com/xg/bkrev/mcneil-nyt.php
McLaren, Malcolm, “Punk Celebrates 30 Years of Subversion”, BBC News, August 18, 2006. Retrieved on January 17, 2006
Nord, L. (Director). (2006). “Jericho’s Echo: Punk Rock in the Holy Land” [Documentary]. United States. http://www.jerichosecho.com/
Regev, Motti and Edwin Seroussi. Popular Music and National Culture in Israel, University of California Press, Berkeley 2004

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Interestingly enough, as we attempt to define our topic, “music in Israel,” and the related topics of Israel/Palestine/State of Israel/Land of Israel/Promised Land, we also gain a more distinct understanding of the related, and not necessarily antagonistic, notions of Diaspora…

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