Palestinian popular music

How popular music becomes heritage

Authored by: Moslih Kanaaneh

The Routledge Companion to Popular Music History and Heritage

Print publication date:  May  2018
Online publication date:  May  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138237636
eBook ISBN: 9781315299310
Adobe ISBN:


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Palestinian society has produced one of the richest traditions of popular music in the Middle East. This tradition has recently been witnessing dramatic changes moving it from village roads and wedding celebrations to city archives, exhibitions and folklore festivals. After enumerating the distinctive feature of Palestinian popular music, this chapter dwells on the four major processes generating this ‘heritagisation’ of popular music in Palestine: (1) destruction of peasant life in Palestine, (2) Israeli occupation, (3) institutionalisation of music and (4) Islamisation of the Palestinian society. Finally, the chapter ends with an attempt to decipher the complexity of the current music scene in the Palestinian society: foreign donors endorse and promote Western-oriented music genres, while at the same time rejection and animosity towards these music genres are rapidly increasing due to Islamisation of Palestinian society, with the Israeli authorities having the upper hand in deciding what can go or not go in the Palestinian society and institutional apparatus of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) operating as a broker mediating between the involved parties.

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