Music in the American Diasporic Wedding

Music in the American Diasporic Wedding

Edited by Inna Naroditskaya
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 05/23/2019
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978-0-253-04176-0
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Music in the American Diasporic Wedding explores the complex cultural adaptations, preservations, and fusions that occur in weddings between couples and families of diverse origins. Discussing weddings as a site of negotiations between generations, traditions, and religions, the essays gathered here argue that music is the mediating force between the young and the old, ritual and entertainment, and immigrant lore and assimilation. The contributors examine such colorful integrations as klezmer-tinged Mandarin tunes at a Jewish and Taiwanese American wedding, a wedding services industry in Chicago's South Asian community featuring a diversity of wedding music options, and Puerto Rican cultural activists dancing down the aisles of New York's St. Cecilia's church to the thunder of drums and maracas and rapping their marriage vows. These essays show us what wedding music and performance tell us about complex multiethnic diasporic identities and remind us that how we listen to and celebrate otherness defines who we are.

Author Bio

Inna Naroditskaya is Professor of Ethnomusicology at the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music. She is author of Bewitching Russian Opera: The Tsarina from State to Stage and Song from the Land of Fire: Continuity and Change in Azerbaijanian Mugham and coeditor of several volumes, including Music of the Sirens.


“Inna Naroditskaya's new collection, Music in the American Diasporic Wedding, focuses on the role of music in the often-delicate negotiations surrounding weddings in immigrant communities. Each article beautifully unpacks the ins and outs of the often-contradictory hopes, dreams, and multiple identities of various couples as they work towards this hallmark of American romantic love. Filled with sometimes heart-breaking, sometimes hilarious portraits of well-made plans, often gone awry, this collection places music at the heart of these ceremonies, ultimately seeing it as a sounded source of reconciliation.”
 — Ellen Koskoff, author of A Feminist Ethnomusicology: Writings on Music and Gender

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Table of Contents

Foreword: What a Wedding Song Tells Me about Music and Performance in the Negotiation of Global Everyday Life / Alejandro L. Madrid

Introduction: Music and Joy in Diasporic Weddings / Inna Naroditskaya

1. Theoretical Perspectives on Weddings, Locally and Beyond / A. J. Racy

2. Negotiating Gender, Community, and Ethnicity: Balkan Romani Transnational Weddings / Carol Silverman

3. Dissonant Love: Music in Latino/a Diasporic Weddings / Lorena Alvarado and Frances R. Aparicio

4. Tambura Music, Flags, and the Deterritorialization of Rituals at Croatian-American Weddings / Ian MacMillen

5. Like An Erhu Player on the Roof: Music and Multilayered Diasporic Negotiation at a Taiwanese and Jewish American Wedding / Meredith Schweig

6. Song, Sevdah, and Ceremony: An Autoethnographic Exploration of Music and Community Cohesion in Bosnian-American Weddings / Tanya Merchant

7. Soulful Same-Sex Wedding, Aretha Franklin, Love and the Politics of (Un)freedom / Nina C. Öhman

8. Trying to Get the Gig: "Ethnic" Weddings from the Musician’s Perspective / Michael Allemana

9. Jewish Wedding Music in the Neo-Klezmer Era / Hankus Netsky

10. Sound Unions: The Work of Music Specialists in Chicago’s South Asian Wedding Scene / Kaley Mason and Ameera Nimjee

11. Mountain Weddings in Chicago / Tim Cooley