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"Just Exotic Enough:" Swedish Chamber Klezmer as Postnational World Music and Mid-East Proxy


Here I examine the music and discourse of two Swedish non-Jewish chamber klezmer bands, and their strategies for claiming klezmer and distancing it from Jews. One band claims that klezmer, having always been subject to travel and outside influence, was never really Jewish. The other suggests that klezmer was inherited by European non-Jews after the Holocaust. Both arguments are predicated on the Herderian nationalist denial of cultural ownership to landless peoples. I argue that these claims are ultimately about allowing Swedes to mitigate their anxieties concerning Middle-Eastern immigration, by granting them possession of a safely domesticated form of Easternness.

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