Playing across a Divide: Israeli-Palestinian Musical Encounters

Playing across a Divide: Israeli-Palestinian Musical Encounters

by Benjamin Brinner

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In the last decade of the twentieth century and on into the twenty-first, Israelis and Palestinians saw the signing of the Oslo Peace Accords, the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and the escalation of suicide bombings and retaliations in the region. During this tumultuous time, numerous collaborations between Israeli and Palestinian musicians coalesced into a significant musical scene informed by these extremes of hope and despair on both national and personal levels.

Following the bands Bustan Abraham and Alei Hazayit from their creation and throughout their careers, as well as the collaborative projects of Israeli artist Yair Dalal, Playing Across a Divide demonstrates the possibility of musical alternatives to violent conflict and hatred in an intensely contested, multicultural environment. These artists' music drew from Western, Middle Eastern, Central Asian, and Afro-diasporic musical practices, bridging differences and finding innovative solutions to the problems inherent in combining disparate musical styles and sources. Creating this new music brought to the forefront the musicians' contrasting assumptions about sound production, melody, rhythm, hybridity, ensemble interaction, and improvisation.

Author Benjamin Brinner traces the tightly interconnected field of musicians and the people and institutions that supported them as they and their music circulated within the region and along international circuits. Brinner argues that the linking of Jewish and Arab musicians' networks, the creation of new musical means of expression, and the repeated enactment of culturally productive musical alliances provide a unique model for mutually respectful and beneficial coexistence in a chronically disputed land.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195395945
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 12/21/2009
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Benjamin Brinner is Professor in the Department of Music, U.C. Berkeley, and winner of ASCAP's Deems Taylor Award for Knowing Music, Making Music. He has studied and taught music in the U.S. and Israel, and conducted research in Indonesia and Israel.

Table of Contents

Part I Setting the Stage

1 First Encounters 3

2 Arab Musicians in Israel and the West Bank 37

3 Israeli Musical Life 67

Part II Musicians, Bands, Networks

4 Alei Hazayit 99

5 Bustan Abraham 113

6 Two Bands, Two Interactive Musical Networks 131

7 Yair Dalai 149

8 A Larger Network—The Ethnic Music Scene in Israel 163

Part III New Forms of Musical Expression

9 Musical Mixtures—Fusion of Styles and Styles of Fusion 215

10 Bustan Abraham's Approaches to Composition and Improvisation 265

Part IV Roots and Routes

11 Representations of Place and Time 291

12 Roots in the Past, Routes to the Future 305

Audio Recordings 327

Glossary 329

References 331

Index 34

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