An examination of popular Ethiopian music styles in Tel Aviv
2019 Winner of Society of Ethnomusicology's Special Interest Group Award for Jewish Music
In the thirty years since their immigration from Ethiopia to the State of Israel, Ethiopian-Israelis have put music at the center of communal and public life, using it alternatingly as a mechanism of protest and as appeal for integration. Ethiopian music develops in quiet corners of urban Israel as the most prominent advocate for equality, and the Israeli-born generation is creating new musical styles that negotiate the terms of blackness outside of Africa. For the first time, this book examines in detail those new genres of Ethiopian-Israeli music, including Ethiopian-Israeli hip-hop, Ethio-soul performed across Europe, and eskesta dance projects at the center of national festivals. This book argues that in a climate where Ethiopian-Israelis fight for recognition of their contribution to society, musical style often takes the place of political speech, and musicians take on outsize roles as cultural critics. From their perch in Tel Aviv, Ethiopian-Israeli musicians use musical style to critique a social hierarchy that affects life for everyone in Israel/Palestine.
List of Illustrations
Note on Transliteration
Introduction: Symbolic Codes of Citizenship
Afrodiasporic Myths: Ester Rada and the Atlantic Connection
Ethiopianist Myths of Dissonance and Nostalgia
Zionist Myths and the Mainstreaming of Ethiopian-Israeli Music
Embodying Blackness through Eskesta Citizenship
"What about My Money": Themes of Labor and Citizenship in Ethiopian-Israeli Hip-Hop
Levinski Street, Tel Aviv's Horn Mediascape
ILANA WEBSTER-KOGEN is the Joe Loss Lecturer (assistant professor) in the department of music at SOAS, University of London. She received her PhD in ethnomusicology there in 2011. Her work has appeared in African and Black Diaspora, Ethnomusicology Forum and the Journal of African Cultural Studies.
"Webster-Kogan provides a rich discussion of Ethiopian-Israeli musical life at the intersection of national and global social histories, skillfully mining musical sound to reveal ideologies of belonging."~Kay Kaufman Shelemay, G., Gordon Watts Professor of Music, Harvard University
"Weaving together ethnographic and theoretical narratives, the author gives voice to her subjects and to their music creators and territories where sound and silence speak—often more loudly than words."~Amy Horowitz, author of Mediterranean Israeli Music and the Politics of the Aesthetic
"Webster-Kogen provides a rich discussion of Ethiopian-Israeli musical life at the intersection of national and global social histories, skillfully mining musical sound to reveal ideologies of belonging."~Kay Kaufman Shelemay, G. Gordon Watts Professor of Music, Harvard University