Greeted with Smiles: Bukharian Jewish Music and Musicians in New York

ISBN : 9780190223137

Evan Rapport
258 Pages
162 x 237 mm
Pub date
Jan 2015
American Musicspheres Series
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As the Soviet Union stood on the brink of collapse, thousands of Bukharian Jews left their homes from across the predominantly Muslim cities of Central Asia, to reestablish their lives in the United States, Israel and Europe. Today, about thirty thousand Bukharian Jews reside in New York City, settled into close-knit communities and existing as a quintessential American immigrant group. For Bukharian immigrants, music is an essential part of their communal self-definition, and musicians frequently act as cultural representatives for the group as a whole. Greeted with Smiles: Bukharian Jewish Music and Musicians in New York explores the circumstances facing new American immigrants, using the music of the Bukharian Jews to gain entrance into their community and their culture. Author Evan Rapport investigates the transformation of Bukharian identity through an examination of corresponding changes in its music, focusing on three of these distinct but overlapping repertoires - maquom (classical or "heavy" music), Jewish religious music and popular music. Drawing upon interviews, participant observation and music lessons, Rapport interprets the personal perspectives of musicians who serve as community leaders and representatives. By adapting strategies acquired as an ethno-religious minority among Central Asian Muslim neighbors, Bukharian musicians have adjusted their musical repertoire in their new American home. The result is the creation of a distinct Bukharian Jewish American identity-their musical activities are changing the city's cultural landscape while at the same time providing for an understanding of the cultural implications of Bukharian diaspora. Greeted with Smiles is sure to be an essential text for ethnomusicologists and scholars of Jewish and Central Asian music and culture, Jewish-Muslim interaction and diasporic communities.


Table of Contents
List of Figures and Transcribed Music Examples
List of Audio Music Examples
Note on Transliteration and Translation
Selected Biographical Sketches
1. Performing Bukharian Jewish History: Ilyos Mallayev's Play Levicha Hofiz
Remembering Old Bukhara
Vestiges of Soviet Central Asia in Levicha Hofiz
Levicha Hofiz and New York
2. Adapting Bukharian Jewish Musical Life to Multicultural New York
From Melting Pot to Mosaic Ideologies among Jewish Americans
Jewish Multiculturalism and Bukharian Jews
Ethnic Music in Multicultural New York
3. Maqom: Bukharian Jewish Classical Music
Defining the Maqom Repertoire
Canonical Shashmaqom Editions and National Questions
Maqom on the World Music Stage
Maqom and Intercultural Encounters between Jews and Muslims
Maqom and Intracultural Jewish Encounters
The State of Maqom Transmission in New York
Updating the Classical Repertoire
4. Religious Repertoire: "Like Mushrooms After the Rain"
Defining the Religious Repertoire
Toward Jewish Centers
Toward Bukharian Jewish Distinctiveness
Bukharian Diasporic Consciousness: Combining Senses of Belonging and Otherness
Religious Repertoire as Bukharian Ethnic Music
5. Party Music: Expressing Cosmopolitanism
Defining the Party Repertoire
Cosmopolitanism and Bukharian Jewish Identity
A Generational Crossroads
6. Ziyorat

About the author: 

Evan Rapport is Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at Eugene Lang College and The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. His interests include American music, Jewish musical life, intersections of composition and improvisation, music and poetry of Iran and Central Asia, and issues of ethnicity, race, and representation. He has published on subjects as wide ranging as punk rock's relationship to the blues, arrangements of George Gershwin's concert works, the idea of ethnic music in New York, and rap music. He is also a performing saxophonist.

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