Monday, December 24, 2007

Abayudaya Jews of Uganda: Afropop Worldwide Interviews Rabbi & Ethnogragrapher Jeffrey Summit

I just ran across an interesting interview with Jeffery Summit about his work researching the Abayudaya Jews of Uganda. (I've mentioned Summit before. He's the author of one of my favorite Jewish music books "The Lord's Song in a Strange Land: Music and Identity in Contemporary Jewish Worship").

Here's the intro to the interview:
"In 1999, photo-journalist Richard Sobol heard a graduate student’s field recording of Jewish songs performed by Africans in Uganda. Sobol thought he knew Uganda pretty well, but Ugandan Jews? This was a surprise. Sobol soon returned, and the recordings he made on his own first visit later persuaded Jeffrey Summit—a rabbi and professor of ethnomusicology and Judaic studies at Tufts University—to make the first of three research trips to Uganda as well.

Sobol and Summit have done yeoman’s work in revealing this remarkable community to the world, and they have produced two excellent resources, which you can purchase by following these links: the coffee table book and CD, Abayudaya : The Jews of Uganda, (Abbeville Press Publishers), and the Grammy Award-nominated CD, Abayudaya: Music from the Jewish People of Uganda (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings)."
The full interview is available on the AfroPop Worldwide website.

It's a well conducted interview. The interviewer, Banning Eyre, and Summit start with an overview of the different groups on the African continent that are either Jewish or in some way come from Jewish lineage. It's a fascinating read to provides a lot of context for their later discussion of the Abayudaya religious and musical experience.

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