Exiled Nostalgia: Remembrances of Iraq in the Improvised Songs of Iraqi-Jewish Women
Habiba, an elderly Iraqi-Jewish woman, sits on her balcony in Pardes Katz, an impoverished neighborhood of Tel Aviv. She improvises a song in Judeo-Arabic in protest of the bride theft of her sister by a Muslim sheikh from Basra—an event that occurred almost seventy years ago. Comparing her sibling to a precious drop of water, she describes how the young girl was swept away in a large stream, never to be returned. Through poetic metaphor, she tells of her sister’s conversion to Islam, a topic considered so shameful that it can only be addressed through song. Her haunting melody evokes sonic remembrances of Iraq, while her lyrics portray the heartbreak she feels for the sister she left behind.
(Excerpt from Liliana's proposal)