Humanities Society - Ya Lalla: The Digital Sphere & the Sensory: A Platform on Judeo-Arabic Songs for Birth from the Moroccan Sahara

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Dr Vanessa Paloma Elbaz Research Associate, Faculty of Music; Peterhouse College
Date 26/10/2021 at 18.00 - 26/10/2021 at 19.15 Where Gatsby Room, Chancellor's Centre (& zoom)

The Humanities Society organises regular talks spanning a wide range of topics. Every Tuesday during term time.

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‘Wolfson College Cambridge’s Humanities Society and the ERC-funded project Past and Present Musical Encounters Across the Strait of Gibraltar are pleased to host this joint event.’

Women’s voices in the Maghreb have functioned as communal subterfuge to the colonial project of controlling sound and action. Their core importance for minority groups in ensuring transmission, fertility and group cohesion make a powerful case for what may appear to outsiders as a simple and unstable musical tradition.

Dr. Vanessa Paloma Elbaz recently launched the trilingual (English, French and Arabic) website as part of the ERC project Past and Present Musical Encounters Across the Strait of Gibraltar together with Cambridge AHIF, Cambridge Digital Humanities, Digirati, the Mimouna Foundation, Matanel, and the Alliance Israélite Universelle.
The choice to use material from Jewish women's Saharan oral traditions on birth and fertility for this pilot project is firmly rooted in the core role of women’s songs, celebrations, protection and fertility in Morocco, regardless of geographical, religious or social position. The process of bringing a sensorial communal tradition based in orality to an interactive digital platform highlight both its heightened state of fragility of transmission and its enduring continuity.
This launch is an initial pilot for KHOYA: Jewish Morocco Sound Archive, a project Dr. Elbaz began in 2012 to gather, digitise, and classify the sounds and oral histories of the Jewish presence in Morocco.

About the Speaker

Vanessa Paloma Elbaz is Research Associate at the Faculty of Music and Peterhouse on the ERC project Past and Present Musical Encounters Across the Strait of Gibraltar. Former Fulbright Senior Research Fellow, Posen Fellow, Broome and Allen Fellow and TALIM Fellow, she is Vice-Chair of the Mediterranean Music Study group of the ICTM, on the board of the Jewish Music Institute, and the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies. Dr. Elbaz received her PhD from the CERMOM, Sorbonne Paris Cité. Her most recent publication “Imagining a sonic al-Andalus through sound, bones, and blood: the case of Jewish music in Morocco and Spain” addresses sonic sensoriality through lineage. 

No need to book for in-person attendance. To attend remotely, please register to receive webinar access details.

Image credits: Odelia Lainé