Between the Besht and Bulletproof Stockings: An Introduction to Hasidic Music
Tutor: Dr Diana Matut
Online course via Zoom on Tuesdays 4-5pm (UK time)
Hasidic music is often thought of as being merely synonymous with the singing of nigunim (‘wordless’ melodies). Modern Hasidism, however, can boast a tremendous musical culture, encompassing liturgy, traditional melodies used for learning in religious schools and Yeshivot, nigunim (distinct in various Hasidic groups), folk songs, vocal and instrumental wedding- and dance music as well as Pop, Rock, Hip Hop and Rap, modern choir compositions or music for film, radio and other media to name but a few.
Hasidic star musicians such as Lipa Schmeltzer or Matisyahu, ‘boy groups’ and child singers, singer-songwriters and women’s bands have shaped and transformed the perception of Hasidic music-making and of Hasidism itself among Jewish and non-Jewish contemporaries. Music videos, conforming to modern aesthetics, are being placed prominently for promotional and missionary purposes on the internet while ’kosher’ forms such as CDs and cassettes are still widely in use and concerts attract thousands of listeners.
Currently, women from several Hasidic communities claim their place as musicians, performing officially for all-female audiences only and recording professionally. However, less outward forms of female singing thrives among the Satmar community, where it is regarded as a return to traditions still remembered but lost as a communal practice.
This course will cover the following topics among others: The Heart and the Wellspring: Music in Hasidic Though; Changing the world: Nigunim – ‘wordless’ melodies; To make a bride weep: Music of the Hasidic wedding; Women and Hasidic music: traditions and reclaimed spaces; Hasidic music industry and pop culture.
Please note that this course is now closed to applications.