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Posted on April 19th, 2012, by

The Allepian Waslah constitutes an essential part of the cultural life of Arab, Jewish, and Christian communities. In this respect, the Allepian Waslah is a unique phenomenon in the culture because it manages to unite different cultural and religious communities. At the same time, the Allepian Waslah is an important element which contributes to the preservation of cultural identity of Arab and Jewish communities in different parts of the world.

Remarkably, the Allepian Waslah’s components have been used in the Syrian and Jewish synagogues, Arab Christian churches, Arab Muslims, Jewish and Christian weddings. In such a way, the Allepian Waslah became deep routed in the culture of different communities. At the same time, this component of Muslim, Jewish and Christian culture proved to be able to migrate along with the population from the place of its origin to areas populated with Arab and Jewish communities, where the Allepian Waslah allowed them to distinguish them from local, dominating cultural groups. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the Lebanese and Syrian communities in New York, which manage to maintain their cultural identity and the Allepian Waslah serves as a toll of the preservation of their cultural identity and, what is more, it helps Syrian and Lebanese American to maintain contacts with their motherland and its culture. In such a way, the importance of Allepian Waslah for Arab and Jewish as well as Christina cultures can hardly be underestimated, but it is particularly significant for ethnic minorities, such as Lebanese and Syrian communities, in large cities, such as New York, where different cultures coexist and interact.

Historically, the Allepian Waslah was closely associated with the Middle East, but, it is a really paradoxical cultural phenomenon since Allepian Waslah is present in cultures which are traditionally viewed as antagonistic, if not to say hostile ”“ Muslim, Judaist, and Christian cultures. However, what is probably the most interesting about the Allepian Waslah is its persistence throughout time and physical location. What is meant here is the fact that the Allepian Waslah is still an essential element of Jewish, Muslim and Christian culture, but today, it is spread not only in the Middle East, but it can be found in the most remote parts of the world, which lay thousands miles away from the Middle East, such as New York, for instance. Remarkably, the immigration of people representing different communities from the Middle East contributed to the formation of unique Syrian-American, Lebanese-American, Jewish-American and many other ethnic groups which have preserved the Allepian Waslah as an essential element of their culture. In fact, the Allepian Waslah became one of the most important factors that shape the cultural identity of representative of ethnic minorities in the USA, especially in such a diverse and multicultural city as New York.

In actuality, this idea can be traced in the book “Music of Multicultural America: A Study of Twelve Musical Community”ť by A.K. Rasmussen. To put it more precisely, the author focuses on the music and cultural life of twelve different communities in the USA. At the same time, she shows that music closely intertwined with the cultural identity of different ethnic groups. In this respect, the Allepian Waslah can be viewed as one of the manifestations of a significant impact of music on Arab and Jewish communities living in the USA, especially in New York . In fact, the Allepian Waslah music becomes an essential component of the cultural life of both communities and it is still widely used during wedding ceremonies. At the same time, the book is very important in regard to the understanding of the role of the Allepian Waslah for ethnic minorities, such as the Syrian and Lebanese communities in large cities like New York. The author provides the possibility to analyze the role of the Allepian Waslah for Arab community of the USA, including New York, in comparison to other musical styles and other cultures . What is meant here is the fact that, even though the book focuses the attention of the audience on twelve different musical styles and communities, the book allows distinguishing common trends which can be traced in different communities. Hence, one of the major conclusions that may be made on the ground of the material conveyed by A.K. Rasmussen to the audience is the idea of cultural identification of ethnic minorities due to their unique music. Basically, this conclusion meets the main message of Allen and Wilken’s book.

In fact, the book written by Rasmussen reveals the fact that music was an essential component through which the cultural identity of ethnic minorities is revealed. In such a way, the author reveals a huge cultural power of music. In this respect, it should be said that music proves to be able to evoke not only strong emotions and influence aesthetic feelings of the audience, but it is also to convey the cultural peculiarities of each ethnic or cultural group. In this respect, the example of the Allepian Waslah is particularly noteworthy because the author shows that Jewish and Arab communities preserved it and convey form one generation to another as a valuable cultural heritage, a historical experience of the people which should be preserved throughout centuries.

At the same time, it is even possible to speak about certain similarities of the books written by Rasmussen and Allen and Wilcken in their structure since Rasmussen also researches musical communities, focusing on musical styles and traditions of different communities, analyzing their significance and the role in the life of the community. In such a context, the Allepian Waslah is apparently crucial for the cultural life of the Syrian and Lebanese community in New York.

However, it is important to lay emphasis on the fact that the Allepian Waslah, which originally appeared in the Near East, is not a static component of Jewish or Arab culture. In stark contrast, it is a dynamic component of culture which progresses and accompanies cultural groups, for which the Allepian Waslah is an essential part of their cultural life, worldwide. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the book “Magic Carpet- Alleppo-in-Flatbush: The story of a unique ethnic Jewish community”ť by J.A.D. Sutton. In actuality, the book reveals the fact that the Allepian Waslah, being an integral part of the cultural life of Jewish community, was “exported”ť from Israel to the USA, including New York, where many Jews settled and formed their ethnic communities, while large cities, like New York, became cultural centers where Jewish community could maintain and develop its cultural traditions, customs and preserve its cultural identity . It is very important to stress the significance of the Allepian Waslah for Jewish culture because it is still one of the essential elements of the cultural life of Jewish community in the USA as well as in New York since it sounds practically during every Jewish wedding, which is simply unimaginable without the Allepian Waslah.

Moreover, the author argues that the Allepian Waslah comprises an essential part of the cultural identity of Jewish-Americans and it is due to the Allepian Waslah they distinguish themselves from the rest of the American society. At the same time, the author shows that different generations of Jews who have immigrated to the USA in different time maintain their cultural links due to the Allepian Waslah which served as a vehicle linking different generations of Jewish immigrants, some of which immigrated to the USA lately, while other have already spent a considerable part of their life in the USA, being remote from their motherland and its culture, but the Allepian Waslah helps maintain old traditions and unifies Jewish community in the USA as well as in New York . Also, it is worth mentioning the fact that the Allepian Waslah is a cultural element that is conveyed from one generation to another is inherited by the younger generation from older ones. For instance, the author shows that, even though younger generation of Jewish-Americans grew up in a multicultural environment, young people still remain devoted to the Jewish culture due to the Allepian Waslah. In such a way, the author extrapolates the significance of the Allepian Waslah from a purely musical, artistic phenomenon, onto the cultural level. In such a way, the Allepian Waslah becomes a cultural phenomenon above all uniting Jewish community.

At this point, it should be said that Kaufman Shelemey also lay emphasis on the significance of the Allepian Waslah for the Jewish culture and Jewish community in the USA. The author argues that the Allepian Waslah is an essential element of main Jewish ceremonies, such as wedding and it is widely used in Jewish communities worldwide. In such a way, the author supports views of the aforementioned authors concerning the cultural power of the Allepian Waslah and its role as an essential element influencing the formation of the cultural identity of an individual.

In this respect, it is possible to trace the idea of a uniting power of the Allepian Waslah and the view on the Allepian Waslah as a complex cultural phenomenon in other books as well as in views of ordinary people (such as the interviewed Shadi Jameel). In such a way, other specialists as well as ordinary people observe the same trends and cultural power of the Allepian Waslah not only in Jewish community but also in Arab-Muslims and Arab-Christian communities, as well as in Syrian-American and Lebanese American communities. For instance, it is possible to refer again to the book written by Rasmussen in which the author actually agrees with Sutton because Rasmussen also noticed and emphasized the cultural implications of music which exceed traditional perception of music as just a kind of art. Instead, both Rasmussen and Sutton argue that the Allepian Waslah as well as music at large should be viewed from the broader point of view. Moreover, they have the uniting power which accelerates interaction of cultures and their mutual understanding along with preservation of their cultural identity.

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