Music in the American Diasporic Wedding

Music in the American Diasporic Wedding

Edited by Inna Naroditskaya
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 05/23/2019
Format: Paperback 19 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-04177-7
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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

Michael Allemana is a PhD candidate in Ethnomusicology at the University of Chicago and a professional jazz guitarist.

Lorena Alvarado is Assistant Professor in the Global Arts Studies Program at the University of California, Merced.

Frances R. Aparicio is Professor of Spanish and Portuguese and Director of the Latina and Latino Studies Program at Northwestern University. She is author of Listening to Salsa: Gender, Latino Popular Music, and Puerto Rican Cultures, and editor with Candida F. Jaquez of Musical Migrations: Transnationalism and Cultural Hybridity in Latin/o America.

Timothy J. Cooley is Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is editor with Gregory F. Barz of Shadows in the Field: New Perspectives for Fieldwork in Ethnomusicology, and author of Making Music in the Polish Tatras: Tourists, Ethnographers, and Mountain Musicians and Surfing about Music.

Kaley Mason is Assistant Professor of Music at Lewis & Clark College.

Alejandro L. Madrid is Professor of Musicology and Ethnomusicology at Cornell University. He is the recipient of international awards, including the 2017 Dent Medal for "outstanding contributions to musicology" from the Royal Musical Association and the International Musicological Society. He is the author of nine books on transnational flows in Latin American music.

Tanya Merchant is Associate Professor of Music at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is author of From Courtyard to Conservatory: Women Musicians of Tashkent.

Ian MacMillen is Assistant Professor of Russian and East European Studies and Director of the Oberlin Center for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies at Oberlin College.

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, Song from the Land of Fire: Continuity and Change in Azerbaijani Mugham, and co-editor of several volumes, including Music of the Sirens.

Hankus Netsky, a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and scholar is a co-chair of Contemporary Improvisation at New England Conservatory. He is author of Klezmer: Music and Community in 20thCentury Jewish Philadelphia.

Ameera Nimjee is a PhD candidate in Ethnomusicology at the University of Chicago.

Nina C. Öhman is a Teaching and Research Fellow at the Department of Music, University of Pennsylvania and a Visiting Lecturer in North American Studies at the University of Helsinki.

A. J. Racy is Distinguished Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of California at Los Angeles and a performer and composer. He is author of Making Music in the Arab World: The Culture and Artistry of Tarab.

Meredith Schweig is Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at Emory University.

Carol Silverman is Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Folklore at the University of Oregon. She is author of Romani Routes: Cultural Politics and Balkan Music in Diaspora.



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

Part I.
1. Kay Shelemay, “From Generation to Generation: Musical Traditions and Political Negotiations in Weddings of the African Horn and Its Diaspora”
2. Kaley Mason, “Music Specialists, Wedding work, and the Politics of Intimate Recognition in Chicago’s South Asian Communities”
3. Carol Silverman, “Negotiating Gender, Community, and Ethnicity: Balkan Romani Transnational Weddings”

Part II.
4. Meredith Schweig, “Sounding the Harmonious Union: Musical Notes on a Taiwanese and Jewish American Wedding”
5. Natalie Zelensky, “Of Brides and Balalaikas: Playing ‘Diaspora’ in the Russian-American Wedding”
6. Adriana Helbig, “Singing Out: Gay Weddings in Diaspora”

Part III.
7. Shayna Silverstein, “(Re)Mixed Bridal Beats: Arab Dabke, Islamic Hiphop and the Politics of Difference in Arab-American Chicago”
8. Andrew Eisenberg, "Wedding Soundtracks and Diasporic Consciousness among Kenyans in the U.S."
9. Inna Naroditskaya, “Big Fat Diasporic Weddings: Music, Cinema, TV”