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Indian Sufism in Israel: A Musically Orchestrated Interaction


Landau, David; Rageth, Nina (2017). Indian Sufism in Israel: A Musically Orchestrated Interaction. PaRDeS : Zeitschrift der Vereinigung für Jüdische Studien e.V., 23:163-180.

Abstract

This paper explores Indian Sufi influences in Shye Ben Tzur’s music. Ben Tzur is a Jewish Israeli musician who composes Sufi poetry in Hebrew and plays it to qawwālī music, the traditional North Indian Sufi music. Ben Tzur’s songs are devotional and there are many Sufi references that invoke Islamic terminology. His music has been reviewed in numerous newspapers and his Jewish identity, coupled with Sufi themes, evokes questions regarding religious belonging. Even though Ben Tzur openly discusses Sufi influences, his music has remained uncontroversial. This article interprets this as a sign that the symbolic repertoire of Ben Tzur’s music evokes associations with India and not with Islam and more specifically with India as a spiritual rather than religious space. The image of India as a spiritual land manages to subsume references to Islam and render them part of the “mystical East” allowing Ben Tzur’s audience to consume Muslim themes outside Middle Eastern politics.

Abstract

This paper explores Indian Sufi influences in Shye Ben Tzur’s music. Ben Tzur is a Jewish Israeli musician who composes Sufi poetry in Hebrew and plays it to qawwālī music, the traditional North Indian Sufi music. Ben Tzur’s songs are devotional and there are many Sufi references that invoke Islamic terminology. His music has been reviewed in numerous newspapers and his Jewish identity, coupled with Sufi themes, evokes questions regarding religious belonging. Even though Ben Tzur openly discusses Sufi influences, his music has remained uncontroversial. This article interprets this as a sign that the symbolic repertoire of Ben Tzur’s music evokes associations with India and not with Islam and more specifically with India as a spiritual rather than religious space. The image of India as a spiritual land manages to subsume references to Islam and render them part of the “mystical East” allowing Ben Tzur’s audience to consume Muslim themes outside Middle Eastern politics.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:01 Faculty of Theology > Institute of Religious Studies
08 University Research Priority Programs > Asia and Europe
Dewey Decimal Classification:200 Religion
Language:English
Date:2017
Deposited On:28 Mar 2018 10:10
Last Modified:13 Apr 2018 11:49
Publisher:Universitätsverlag Potsdam
ISSN:1862-7684
OA Status:Closed

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