Performing al-Andalus: Music and Nostalgia across the Mediterranean (Public Cultures of the Middle East and North Africa) Paperback – Illustrated, July 28, 2015
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
[This] study is well-written, engaging, and supported by a substantial bibliography. . . . Recommended.― Choice
Jonathan Holt Shannon's Performing al-Andalus is evocative, accessible, compact, and innovative in its methodological and expository approach. These qualities make it an attractive text for undergraduate students, as well as for graduate seminars focused on Mediterranean studies, the ethnomusicology of the Middle East and North Africa, and the politics of culture and memory.― Review of Middle East Studies
Shannon has proven once again his deep knowledge of the cultural and intellectual landscape of the region. . . . Through its comparative and cross-cultural perspective, Performing al-Andalus is accessible to a wide audience, addressing particularly those interested in how music interacts with memory cultures, ideologies of belonging and their circulation within a transnational context.― Ethnomusicology Forum
A sizeable body of literature has emerged in recent years that explores the musical legacies of al-Andalus from both a historical and a contemporary perspective. Jonathan Shannon's book is a crucial addition to this scholarship.― Music and Letters
In this elegant, innovative ethnography of pan-Mediterranean musical connections, Jonathan Shannon identifies a protean 'rhetoric of al-Andalus' that intersects, crosscuts, undermines, and reaffirms standard historical narratives and contemporary national boundaries. Linking musical performance to artistic and political discourses, he reveals alternative imaginaries of belonging, and suggests the productive potential of nostalgia Performing al-Andalus illustrates how competing notions of Umayyad Spain―a Muslim golden age for Islamists, an idyll of tolerance for secularists―serve to critique a challenging present and inspire visions of a different future.-- Christa Salamandra ― Lehman College and Graduate Center, CUNY
- Paperback : 252 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0253017629
- Item Weight : 13.9 ounces
- ISBN-13 : 978-0253017628
- Dimensions : 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
- Publisher : Indiana University Press; Illustrated edition (July 28, 2015)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #905,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The book's main parts includes the attraction of historical al-Andalus or Hebraic ha-Sepharad plus analysis of the contemporary music identified as Arabo-Andalusian (one of the European musicological designations in use) in Syria, Morocco, and Spain, comparing different motivations and styles. In Syria, with pan-Arab concerns, the loss of Spain is held up with the loss of Palestine and the Golan Heights. The Syrian own muwashah poetic suites, while differing from Morocco's in modes and rhythms and the presence of contemporary poetry, is claimed to be the more authentic and more Arab, and pride derives from the Caliphate of Spain in Cordoba being of Syrian origin. Morocco, on the other hand, just south of Gibraltar and readily included in al-Andalus through the mutual Almoravid dynasties, has nationality as its interest. It believes that its music and instrumentation, lesser tainted by Ottoman and Persian influences, is closer to medieval Iberian, its Sufi rites also better in preserving the ancient melodies and rhythms. Morocco recognizes the European influence in al-Andalus, carried on by diatonic and sometimes pentatonic modes lacking the microtones of the Levant. As for Spain, which exiled first the Jews and then the Muslims, who even today has a love-hate relationship with the Romani of Andalucía, the region of southern Spain, and their flamenco, which includes vestiges of Moorish forms, al-Andalus and its music are simply integrated and absorbed as Spanish. Except for scholars, past composers as de Falla, Albéniz, and Tárrega, Romani flamenco artists today, and Spanish students of Early Music, Andalusian music is essentially ancient and foreign, Moorish or Moroccan.
Author-musicologist Jonathan Holt Shannon, fluent in Arabic and Spanish, offers a fine, thoughtful, and insightful analysis of the benefits and hazards of historic attachments and denials. His book offers much to consider. Indeed, the book's thesis hits home because my own affinity for Moroccan-Andalusian music, particularly Gharnati and Sufi, entangles a family history that traces back to Sefarad despite hundreds of years of Ashkenazi background. As he points out, the mythologies and legends are nice ideals, but the realities are poorly understood and probably not helpful in our world of continuing East-West conflict.
It does not matter that the Arabist Serafín Fanjul has demonstrated that flamenco music was created in the last decades of the 18th century and has different melodic structures than the 'Arab' music, and so the belief that all Spanish popular music has its origin in Ziryab (789-857) is just a myth created by the Pan-Arabism. Both scientific facts and imperial nostalgia are 'perceptions' and therefore have the same value.
However, this book also fails showing the social perception of the Andalusian legacy at least in modern Spain, due an obvious bias in the selection of the spokespersons of such 'rethoric of al-Andalus in Spain'. Very few Spaniards would recognize the 'Andalusia' described by Jonathan Holt Shannon. Transforming the 'perspectives' of some minority groups of Andalusian nationalists into the paradigm of the Spanish society, or considering Blas de Infante 'the' political leader and 'the father of the Andalusian nation', implies a delusional vision of the Spanish reality. Al-Andalus is not Andalusia, and Andalusia is just a part of Spain.
Finally, it is impossible to put in context these 'rhetorics' if historical facts are ignored. For instance, the absence of Christian and Jewish communities in al-Andalus since the end of the 12th century, due the conversions and the emigration to the north forced by the dhimma, which ended with the mass deportations of Christians to North Africa. Or the existence of a phenomenon called 'repoblación' (repopulation): after the Christian conquest, cities like Cordoba or Seville were emptied of Muslims and reoccupied by Northern people: the modern Andalusian population does not descend from the 'Moors' of the Umayyad caliphate. And these facts have great implications in Holt Shannon's thesis.