ABSTRACT: This presentation examines the emerging alternative media hub of Levinski Street, the downmarket thoroughfare in south Tel Aviv where migrants converge for accommodation, commerce and transit. All along Levinski, Filipino, Thai, and Nepalese labour migrants, along with Eritrean asylum seekers, jostle for space in a rich city. Ethiopians, however, are one of the only groups represented along Levinski who hold Israeli citizenship, and Ethiopian-Israelis work there to secure space and power in Israel's major economic centre. They do so through the establishment of restaurants and shops, but music makes the most immediate sensory declaration of Ethiopian presence. The presentation will examine the musical spaces along Levinski that navigate the insider status of citizenship alongside the outsider positioning of minorities. Investigating how the emerging mediascape, and its crossovers with Eritrean spaces, negotiates the terms of citizenship and belonging for Israel's most visible minorities. As the businesses and musical institutions that animate Levinski are described it is contended that race, class and legal status converge in south Tel Aviv around the cultural production that drives citizenship narratives of otherness and belonging.
SPEAKER: Ilana Webster-Kogen is the Joe Loss Lecturer in Jewish Music at SOAS, University of London. Her work on Ethiopian music in Tel Aviv has been published in Ethnomusicology Forum, African and Black Diaspora, and the Journal of African Cultural Studies. Her forthcoming book manuscript examines Ethiopian-Israeli citizenship discourses as shaped by popular music. At SOAS, she teaches classes in ethnomusicology, klezmer, hip-hop and Middle Eastern music.
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