Performing Translation: Indian Jewish Devotional Song and Minority Identity on the Move


ACLS Fellowship Program




This research on Bene Israel (Marathi Jewish) devotional music from the nineteenth through twenty-first centuries explores dialogue between the Bene Israel and other social groups and articulates new ways for thinking about cultural translation in musical contexts. The first half of the project is on Bene Israel kirtans (devotional songs with storytelling) performed in the decades immediately following the founding of the first Jewish kirtan organization in 1880, and attempts to address how and why this Hindu temple genre was translated for Jewish purposes. The second half of the project considers the re-gendering of kirtan and other Marathi Jewish song forms during their revival in late 20th-century Bombay and Israel.