Israeli Musical Life

Benjamin Brinner

in Playing across a Divide

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780195395945
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199852666 | DOI:
Israeli Musical Life

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The courtyard of the Hebrew Union College in West Jerusalem fills with a mix of Israeli adults and rowdy Colorado teenagers on a summer trip to Israel. Rows of plastic armchairs face a temporary stage flanked by speaker towers and banks of colored stage lights. Shlomo Bar, the leader of Habreira Hativ'it, enters last and sits on a high stool in front of and higher than the arc of musicians on chairs. Bar tells the audience in Hebrew how happy he is to perform in Jerusalem. This chapter surveys musical life in Israel in the late twentieth century to highlight Jewish musicians' motivations to explore new directions that incorporated elements of Middle Eastern music, often in collaboration with Arab musicians. The portrayal of Israeli culture and society as dominated by Ashkenazi Jews of European origin is too simplistic. The hegemony of European cultural and social forms is linked.

Keywords: Hebrew Union; Shlomo Bar; Jewish musicians; hegemony; European culture; Israel

Chapter.  14315 words. 

Subjects: Ethnomusicology

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