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OpenEdition Books

Territoires musicaux mis en scène

Monique Desroches
Marie-Hélène Pichette
Claude Dauphin
et al.

III. Performances traditionnelles et actuelles

Portuguese Crypto-Jews and constructed musical identities

Judith R. Cohen


This is fundamentally a descriptive article which aims to fill a gap in Sephardic and Crypto-Jewish studies: what is the role of music in the lives of surviving Crypto-Jews in Portugal? It provides a brief overview of the history of the expulsions of the Jews from late fifteenth-century Spain and Portugal, and focuses on the community of Belmonte, with references to Crypto-Jews in other areas of rural Portugal, as well as in the two largest cities, Lisbon and Oporto. The repertoire is discussed in three general groups: music practiced as Jewish music by the community, Jewish music learned from visitors beginning in the early twentieth century, and non-Jewish music, used in both Jewish and non-Jewish contexts. The role of the Internet in the selection of new repertoire and source melodies for synagogue singing is also discussed.

© Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 2011

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