A unique Israeli national culture—indeed, the very nature of "Israeliness"—remains a matter of debate, a struggle to blend vying memories and backgrounds, ideologies and wills. Identifying popular music as an important site in this wider cultural endeavor, this book focuses on the three major popular music cultures that are proving instrumental in attempts to invent Israeliness: the invented folk song repertoire known as Shirei Eretz Israel; the contemporary, global-cosmopolitan Israeli rock; and the ethnic-oriental musica mizrahit. The result is the first ever comprehensive study of popular music in Israel.
Motti Regev, a sociologist, and Edwin Seroussi, an ethnomusicologist, approach their subject from alternative perspectives, producing a truly interdisciplinary, sociocultural account of music as a feature and a force in the shaping of Israeliness. A major ethnographic undertaking, describing and analyzing the particular history, characteristics, and practices of each music culture, Popular Music and National Culture in Israel maps not only the complex field of Israeli popular music but also Israeli culture in general.