• Performing ‘L-ʿalwa’: a sacred and erotic journey in Morocco

    Author(s):
    Alessandra Ciucci (see profile)
    Date:
    2017
    Group(s):
    Ethnomusicology, Gender Studies, Islamicate Studies, Music and Sound
    Subject(s):
    Ethnomusicology, Islamic mysticissm, North Africa, Poetics and poetry, Women and performance
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Morocco
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/asm1-ax64
    Abstract:
    ‘L-ʿalwa’, a sung poem whose text recounts the pilgrimage to a saint’s shrine in Morocco, is celebrated for its ability to convey images and emotions stirred up by the sacred journey. As part of the repertory of ʿaita—a genre of sung poetry from the Moroccan plains and plateaus traditionally performed by professional female singer-dancers [shikhat] and nowadays categorised as popular music [shʿabi]—‘L-ʿalwa’ presents an interesting case study through which it is possible to analyse the porosity between local constructions of the sacred and the secular in relation to a genre which is not explicitly associated with the sacred or with sacred performances. My analysis of salient moments of a performance of ‘L-ʿalwa’ at a wedding celebration in Morocco explores how the shikhat move across the sacred and the secular, and the central role that eroticism [ghram or mshka] plays in the porosity between these categories in performance.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    1 year ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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