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Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme

A finely dressed woman, behind her the wall of a tent

On Friday 4 April, CIP associate Dr Vanessa Paloma Elbaz is curating a concert-come-exhibit underpinned by her archival work in Morocco. As those who attended our 15 February seminar will recall, Dr Elbaz has created a digital archive celebrating the musical culture of Maghrebi Jews and exploring their interaction with Muslim neighbours.

In this one-of-a-kind event, Dr Elbaz will draw out threads linked to fertility, birth, and the creation of new life. Casting her net far and wide, this will be an interdisciplinary and international event, filled with sound and song. 

Dr Elbaz explains:

“Moroccan women's repertoires in the Maghreb, particularly those which are sung during marriage and childbirth, are at the heart of the sonic cementing of communal power for minority groups. Muslim and Jewish women’s oral traditions have also been used to resist colonial powers and form a strong group identity within gendered spaces. Today, few people remember that these songs even exist.”

The hour-long live programme will blend together poetry inspired by Sarah and the birth of Isaac, new compositions on motherhood, and insight on lullabies from anthropologist Dr Francoise Barbira-Friedman (founder of Birthlight). The contributors also include Dr Tali Artman-Partock, discussing the exceptional treatment of birth amulets in the Talmud.

Those able to attend in person can linger for a multi-sensory experience, as a mix of amulets, musical instruments, scents, and other exhibits will be available to explore on site.

Register on Eventbrite to join Dr Elbaz and companions for a journey through the birth experience, comprehending joy, apprehension, pain, fear and change.

Or fill out a short form for information about participating via Zoom.

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