Bass and Silsulim: Israeli music after Muzika Mizrahit

Oded Erez

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Since the turn of the 21st century, Israel has seen a momentous shift in the meaning and value assigned to Middle Eastern and Mediterranean sounds, transposing the local genre of muzika Mizrahit (Mizrahi or “Oriental” Music) and its stylistic heirs from the margins to the very center of Israel’s popular culture. This chapter extends the analysis of this sea change in the status of muzika Mizrahit and its effects into the present, reassessing the broader field of Israeli popular music in its aftermath and exploring what I term the post-Mizrahi era. By looking at the career of Israeli pop stars Omer Adam, Eden Ben Zaken, and Static and Ben El, as well as the indie/alternative scene, I demonstrate the transvaluation of Mizrahiyut (Mizrahi-ness) and its musical markers in Israeli sonic economies. Rather than the erstwhile musical markers of Mizrahiyut becoming “de-ethnicized” through their acceptance as Israeli through-and-through, they are ascribed both values of authenticity and locality, and values of aesthetic cosmopolitanism. Musical Mizrahiyut thus becomes both a potent (and, emphatically, national) site of cultural intimacy, and a symbolic portal to old and new Middle Eastern aesthetic horizons.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook on Contemporary Israel
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781000591149
ISBN (Print)9780429281013
StatePublished - 29 Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes


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