Conferences

The Jewish Music Institute regularly organises major international conferences with participation from leading academics, commentators, film-makers and musicians.

Jewish communities have lived, sung and spoken in Arabic for over a thousand years from Iraq to Morocco, and these histories have been intertwined with the political and social circumstances of the countries they lived in. Music navigates their deeply rooted belonging to these places, and represents a unique approach to dealing with layered and complex identities. From Mimouna to Bakkashot, the Jews of Arabic-speaking lands have developed a distinctive repertoire for celebration and mourning that sits proudly alongside the popular music of the Arab world.

The Jewish Music Institute is excited to have launched an innovative two day Judeo-Arabic music workshop and conference in London. This program, which is a first in the UK, brought together an international group of experts for a two-day extravaganza to celebrate the richness of Judeo-Arabic music. JMI prepared a line-up of international experts on Judeo-Arabic music for two full days in February 2020 for a conference with workshops which culminated in a concert by a Judeo-Arabic music celebrity Haim Botbol of Morocco.

Details about the programme: https://www.jmi.org.uk/event/yallah2020

Below are a selection of lectures and the concert for your to enjoy. We will add to them weekly as we release the lectures one-by one, so please keep checking back.

1. Concert: Haim Botbol
2. Lecture: Remixing Sephardism – Professor Michael Figueroa
3. Lecture: Sephardi Voices UK – Dr Bea Lewkowicz and Daisy Abboudi
4. Lecture: Sonic Resistance during Nazism: The role of Judeo-Arabic Songs in the Maghreb – Vanessa Paloma Elbaz
5. Lecture: Seeing and Hearing Judeo-Arabic Music in Colonial Algeria – Dr Stephen Wilford
6. Lecture: The Moroccan Torah: Ritual, Drama and Magic – Dr Ilana Webster-Kogen (available from Wed 10th June)

More to be announced soon!


Haim Botbol Live at YALLAH London


Lecture: Remixing Sephardism - Prof. Michael Figueroa


Lecture: Sephardi Voices UK - Dr Bea Lewkowicz and Daisy Abboudi


Lecture: Sonic Resistance during Nazism: The role of Judeo-Arabic Songs in the Maghreb - Vanessa Paloma Elbaz


Lecture: Seeing and Hearing Judeo-Arabic Music in Colonial Algeria - Dr Stephen Wilford


This conference was presented with the Institute of Musical Research at the University of London under Director Dr. Malcolm Miller. Themed days focused on aspects of East and West, Arabic and Jewish musics, nationalism and ideologies of pioneer generations, modernism and post-modernism. Papers on composers from the former USSR in the 70s and 90s, mixed with more general topics such as sociology of music, memory and the impact of the Holocaust. Also addressed were popular musics such as Cabaret and nightclubs in Tel-Aviv, Israeli Rock, and the impact of folk song and liturgical styles and collaborative Arab-Jewish projects in Israel and beyond.  Contributors included Professor Amnon Shiloah (Hebrew University), Professor Arnold Whittall, (King’s College, London), Professor Jehoash Hirshberg (Hebrew University), and composers Yehezkel Braun, Andre Hajdu, Tsippi Fleischer, Michael Wolpe, Haim Permont, and Oded Zehavi.



This conference commemorating the anniversary of Bloch’s death focused on key themes including the composer’s status in the 21st century, his orchestral works, his reception in Israel and influence upon Israeli music, as well as oral histories of the Bloch family and issues of identity.  Speakers included Philip Bohlman (Chicago)
, David Z Kushner (Florida) and
 Klára Móricz (Amherst, Massachusetts)

Bloch Society website


This conference presented by JMI SOAS International Centre for Suppressed Music and the Institute of Musical Research, University of London had four key themes – the musical life in Europe before Hitler, the mechanics of the Third Reich’s musical policies, the dispersal of composers and musicians and musical life in Europe after Hitler. Contributors included Gottfried Wagner, great-grandson of Richard Wagner, Michael Haas, producer of the Decca ‘Entartete Musik’ recordings; music curator of the Jewish Museum Vienna; and Research Director of the JMI International Centre for Suppressed Music, Bret Werb, Director of Music at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Albrecht Dümling, Musica Reanimata, Berlin and Erik Levi, Royal Holloway University of London and author of Music in the Third Reich.




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