The Lost Paradise/ ANDALUSI MUSIC IN URBAN NORTH AFRICA

The Lost Paradise
ANDALUSI MUSIC IN URBAN NORTH AFRICA

9780226327235

JONATHAN GLASSER

352 pages | 9 halftones, 1 line drawing | 6 x 9 | © 2016

Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology

For more than a century, urban North Africans have sought to protect and revive

Andalusi music, a prestigious Arabic-language performance tradition said to originate in

the “lost paradise” of medieval Islamic Spain. Yet despite the Andalusi repertoire’s

enshrinement as the national classical music of postcolonial North Africa, its devotees

continue to describe it as being in danger of disappearance. InThe Lost Paradise,

Jonathan Glasser explores the close connection between the paradox of patrimony and

the questions of embodiment, genealogy, secrecy, and social class that have long been

central to Andalusi musical practice.

 

Through a historical and ethnographic account of the Andalusi music of Algiers, Tlemcen,

and their Algerian and Moroccan borderlands since the end of the nineteenth century,

Glasser shows how anxiety about Andalusi music’s disappearance has emerged from

within the practice itself and come to be central to its ethos. The result is a sophisticated

examination of musical survival and transformation that is also a meditation on

temporality, labor, colonialism and nationalism, and the relationship of the living to the

dead.

 

*REVIEW QUOTES

Jane Goodman, Indiana University

“A much-needed study of the North African Andalusi musical tradition that compellingly

shows how the familiar tropes of cultural loss and revival have been constituted and

experienced through the lens of its musicians and social actors. It will be a crucial

resource for scholars of North African and Middle Eastern artistic traditions and should

become the essential reference work on Andalusi music in English-language scholarship.”

James McDougall, University of Oxford

“Like the music that is its subject, Glasser’s book is beautiful, subtle, and deeply

learned—carefully composed, deftly handled, and sensitive. A compelling account of

Andalusi music and its milieu both as they exist today and as they have developed since

the nineteenth century, this is a theoretically articulate and highly sophisticated

ethnography and an absorbing and engaging read, lucidly and elegantly written, with

passages of real beauty. This is an insightful cultural history that offers a major

contribution to the literature.”

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