Palestinian Music in Exile: Voices of Resistance

Palestinian Music in Exile, by Louis Brehony. (Photo: Book Cover)

(Palestinian Music in Exile: Voices of Resistance, by Louis Brehony. The American University of Cairo Press, 2023)

‘Palestinian Music in Exile’ is a historical and contemporary study of Palestinian musicianship in exile in the Middle East, spanning half a century in disparate locations including Gaza, Turkey, Kuwait, and Egypt.

Grassroots musicians emerge here as powerful actors, their stories taking center stage, offering critiques of existing conditions, and new perspectives on displacement and the transmission of Palestinian narratives, and presenting alternative visions for the future.

In the book, Louis Brehony argues that, under conditions of colonial relations and repeated displacement, the reclaiming of public space has gone hand in hand with aesthetic revolution, both broadening and traditionalizing the sounds of Palestine and carrying messages of sumud (steadfastness) and resistance.

Based on a decade’s research in Europe and the Middle East, this timely and inspiring collection of musical ethnographies provides a rich oral history of contemporary Palestinian musicianship and encompasses a broad range of experiences of the ghurba, or state of exile.

Commenting on the book, Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle, Ramzy Baroud, said:

“Louis Brehony’s book is a testament to the centrality of Palestinian culture, particularly music, to the continuity of the Palestinian struggle. He bears witness to the power of culture as a generator of meaning, and as a revolutionary tool in the hands of working-class Palestinian refugees in Palestine and in the diaspora.”

(American University of Cairo Press, PC)

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