From Casablanca to Carnegie Hall: The Untold Tale of North Africa's Jewish Pop Stars
By Geoffrey Clarfield1

For Boualem Sansal

The Death of Cheikh Reymond Leris

On June 22, 1961 Raymond Leyris was shot in the neck and killed by an unidentified assassin while he was shopping with his daughter Viviane in the Souk el Asser of the city of Constantine during the Algerian war of independence.2 As a high profile member of the Jewish community of that city he was targeted by the FLN, Algeria's National Liberation Front, to send a message to the Jewish community that they were no longer welcome in their country of birth.

This triggered a quick and traumatic migration of most of Constantine Algeria's Jews to France and Israel. Not surprisingly, when Algeria finally gained its independence in its fight with the French, the government declared itself a Muslim, Arab state and eventually joined the Arab league. In 1960 Algeria had been home to many thousands of Jews. Today none remain. The last official member of the resident Algerian Jewish community died in 2012.

Cheikh Raymond Leyris (Cheikh is the Arabic term that Arab musicians give to a master of a particular musical genre) was one of the most famous musicians in Algeria. He regularly appeared on TV. His live performances were well attended and his recordings sold in the thousands. You can now access many of his TV appearances on YouTube. (He was also the father in law of the future French pop star, Enrico Macias).

Leyris was a gifted oud [lute] player and singer who had studied with Muslim Arab master musicians such as Cheikh Chakleb and Cheikh Bestandji. This was not unusual, as musical talent was one of the few aspects of life in the traditional Islamic world where Muslims did not discriminate against non-Muslims such as Jews or, farther east, Greek and Armenian Christians.3

Recent scholarship suggests that the opposite has been the case for the Jews of Western Europe. For centuries Christian theology made a point of describing Synagogue music as noise, whereas the music of the Church was not.

In 2006 American scholar Kenneth Stow referred to this cultural trait in his book called, Jewish Dogs: An Image and Its Interpreters. Stow explains:

So canine was the Jews' image that even synagogal chanting was likened to 'barking'. More than one papal text invokes the term for barking, ululare,  to refer to the clamore attached to the synagogue service. A letter by King Henry III of England in 1253 employs ululare, in English 'to ululate', as well as the companion term strepitum, 'a racket'. The term appears again in a text of Philip V of France in 1320, which speaks in nearly the same breath of "their braying" [suos latratos] and also "their barking" [suos ululates] Philip directed that the offending synagogue from whose walls these sounds were emanating be removed: its "noise competed" [concurrenter emitter] with the prayer of the nearby church. Jewish prayer, if not all Jewish practice, seems universally to have been sensed as the yelping of dogs 'pra/eying' to devour the host.4

This primitive ideology created a mindset among devout Europeans that what they listened to was sacred and what Jews chanted was profane, as in profanity. Despite their remarkable adoption and mastery of European art music in the 19th century, composers of Jewish descent, like Felix Mendelsohn (who had been raised a Christian) and later unconverted German Jewish composers like Arnold Schoenberg (as well as American Jewish composers like Gershwin) had their compositions banned by the Nazis.

Their music was considered un-Aryan and lacking a true Germanic beauty, a modern ideological transformation of the early Christian stereotype by Europeans of Jewish music as 'noise', which some musicologists are now calling 'the music libel'. Perhaps we can now better understand the then explicit but until recently misunderstood, religiously inspired anti-Semitism behind the quote in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice when Lorenzo, who runs off with Shylock's daughter says, "The man…hath no music in himself."5

Because of a tendency in Islamic law to see music as secular, lascivious and religiously questionable, minorities such as Jews and Christians were always overrepresented in the musical life of Islamic countries.6 This is especially true given that the lyrical content of this so-called 'Islamic' music is usually about wine (explicitly forbidden in Islamic law), women and song.

As a result of this disproportionate involvement of Jews in the secular music of North Africa, their rural/urban migration under French authority, as well as the rise of broadcasting and the recording industry, during the first six decades of the 20th century, many Jewish North African musicians, both male and female, took on the trappings of what we would now call pop stars. For more than a generation they dominated the airwaves and the stages of the clubs and cabarets of French North Africa. These musicians ranged from the cabarets and concert halls of Casablanca, Paris, and, in one marvelous instance to Carnegie Hall itself. This is their story. It is an as yet under-researched odyssey, and what I present here is just a glimpse of their journey.

The Nature of North African Music

Scholars and historical musicologists have a difficult time separating the origins and differences among the performance styles and rhythmic melodic structures of the music of North Africa's Jews, Arabs and Berbers. As a cultural unit the Jews preceded the Arabs of North Africa by at least eight hundred years before the rise of Islam, whereas anthropologists assume that the Berbers and their language (a 'cousin' of Hebrew and Arabic within the wider Afroasiatic language group) seem to be the indigenous inhabitants of North Africa from sometime after the rise of agriculture in the prehistoric Mediterranean, thousands of years ago.7

As the earliest recordings we have were made just before the 20th century, it is anyone's guess what music sounded like before then. However, we do know that the music of Jews, Arabs and Berbers share certain commonalities especially in their vocal style and rhythmic/melodic structures. Also, the scales used in the performance of 'Arab' classical music (the music of urban, courtly elites) are often similar to the modal structure of the music of the Synagogue.8

To further complicate matters, there were communities of Berber-speaking Jews who lived in Morocco's High Atlas mountains who would regularly dance the Ahwach, a dance typical of highland Berbers and whose Muslim and Jewish versions could barely be distinguished, perhaps because in essence, they were pre Islamic forms of dance and music for festivals and courtship.

Did the ancient musical traditions of North Africa's Jews influence their Islamic neighbors? Was it the other way around? Or, was there a creative symbiosis at work? Which musical styles came first is difficult to say, as so much of the formal structure of Islam is modeled on Judaism, as well as its informal folklore (such as saint worship), which until the middle of the 20th century was the common heritage of Jewish and Muslim North Africans.9

The important thing is that they shared a common musical culture with much variation. Something that would be produced by Jews, if it were beautiful and creative, could easily be appreciated by the Muslim masses, whether expressed in the traditional musical venues, or in the growing opportunities that new media and venues provided during the 20th century.

The Origins of North African Jewish Pop Stars

In 1492 Ferdinand and Isabella finally conquered the last surviving Muslim Arab principality of Spain in what the Arabs called Al Andalus, the Sultanate of Granada. That year they also expelled the Jews of Spain and decades later, the last remaining Muslims. The Jews and Muslims of Al Andalus took the court music of three urban capitals to North Africa where they settled. The musical traditions of Grenada, Cordoba and Toledo migrated to Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia with their respective musical masters who kept the words and music alive through oral tradition.10

Andalusian music is monophonic, has fixed melodies interspersed with free rhythmic/melodic improvisations and follows a set of traditional poems and melodies in suites that North Africans call 'nouba'. Since 1492 Jews have featured prominently within this musical tradition and very often used it as a basis to create new popular styles that mixed the classical style with the music of diverse ethnic groups as well as the cabaret styles of Mediterranean Europeans, who colonized North Africa until the decades after World War II brought these nations their renewed independence.

Once the French had dominated 20th century North Africa, within a few short decades North Africa had its own popular music scene with composers, a star system, nightclubs, radio broadcasting and the cutting and selling of records. All of this provided a golden opportunity for North African Jewish men and women of talent to 'break out of the ghetto' and go for gold. Many of their former TV appearances and digitized recordings can now be found on the Internet and YouTube.11

A few months ago I made a list of about thirty of them in the obscure hope that someone, somewhere would start collecting the old vinyl and TV appearances of these talented men and women and begin to tell the little known story of Jews in the musical world of 20th century North Africa. Eventually I found out that a young American Jew, with the improbable name of Christopher Silver, was doing just that. A little more sleuthing led me to the discovery that he lived no more than half an hour by subway from my apartment in New York City on the Upper West Side, as I was then working for Anna Lomax Wood at the Alan Lomax Archive on 41st Street in Manhattan. And so, off to Brooklyn I went to interview this contemporary musical archaeologist.

A Conversation with Chris Silver

Chris is a young man of thirty. He is doing his PhD on the social history of the Jewish popular musicians of North Africa. Born and raised in California and New York, he is no stranger to the world of music, as his father was one of Bob Dylan's early managers and producers. Chris used to work for a network of organizations dedicated to increasing the economic opportunities for Israel's Arab citizens. He has travelled extensively in Morocco, Tunisia, and Israel in search of old musicians and vinyl discs, their composers, performers, and distributors.

His web site, Jewish Morocco, is an ongoing travelogue of his photojournalistic search for and documentation of the now deserted Jewish cemeteries and living quarters [mellah in Arabic] of the once thriving Jewish communities of North Africa. His fascination for things North African and Jewish is complex. However, as a musician who plays the oud and who once lived among Jewish and Arab musicians in Morocco some years back, I can say that his love for these genres is indisputable.

Over a cup of sweet Moroccan green tea he tells me, "Around the time of Moroccan independence, Jews represented some 250,000 souls out of a total population of 8 million – that's nearly 5%. This was a much higher percentage then their Jewish American counterparts. In fact, if American Jews were integrated into the fabric of New York – and especially the music scene – they certainly found their rivals on both accounts in the case of Moroccan Jews. Music for many catapulted you straight from the mellah into the music hall."12

As it also sounded strangely similar to the musical trajectory of African American musicians of the 20th century I asked Chris to begin at the beginning of the story and bring it up to the present day. This is what he told me. Here and there I have added my own comments and interpretation which were vetted by Chris when he read this article in its last draft version.

With the rise of the phonograph in the late 19th century, phonograph companies quickly realized that there was an immense market for local music in the Islamic world and across the Indian sub-continent. In order to sell phonographs they recorded local artists. For example, we have recordings of local musicians made at the University of Cairo from the 1890s. There the phonograph began in the café, acting as a cheap and efficient substitute for live musicians. It then quickly moved into people's houses, as they gained a taste for reproducing the music of their favorite performers in the privacy of their own homes.

All the big companies got in on the act: Pathé, Gramophone and Zonophone, all international companies with a global reach. Their records were also sold and purchased by immigrant communities in New York and were labeled, "Syrian Arabian" but they included a fair amount of North African performers. For example Columbia records recorded Arab American artists and sold their records in New York as well as other cities. Some imported discs were sold by Victor and also labeled "Syrian Arabian" even if the artist was actually a North African Jew as in the case of Cheikh El Afrite.13

From 1900 onwards, the growth of this market was exponential and millions of records of popular and traditional North African music were sold. Starting with 78 rpms the entire process was market driven. It included Arabic Berber music as well as traditional Jewish hymns or Piyyutim, which are and were sung by North African and Middle Eastern Jews using the same scales or 'maqamat'of Arab classical music from Morocco through Iraq.

Many Jewish merchants got it on the act. As nationalist sentiment began to rise in Algeria they would mislabel the discs to avoid the censorship and confiscation of the discs by the French authorities, who would wonder aloud why Jews were allowing the growth of nationalist Arab sentiment which was clearly against their long-term interest.  At the same time, these Jews had not forgotten Zion and we have an early recording of "Hatikva," which became the national anthem of Israel, performed by Jewish musicians recording in Tunisia in the early 1920s.

Nevertheless, the Jews of North Africa were modernizing (or not) at different rates. Among the communities of the Mediterranean coast, religious Zionism was growing, whereas towards the Sahara and in the Atlas Mountains non-French-speaking Jews were still waiting for the Messiah. Yet despite their differences, Jews were caught up in the ferment of North Africans rediscovering their own cultural patrimony, in reaction to their colonization by the French.

As early as 1904, an Algerian Jew by the name of Edmun Nathan Yafil feared that the Andalusian music of Algeria might disappear due to the system of oral transmission from master to disciple.14 Notating the traditional melodies by hand he published a two-volume collection of Andalusian music in two editions, one in Arabic and one in Judeo-Arabic, and these volumes in turn became the foundational works for the preservation, revival and growth of the Andalusian musical tradition of Algeria which is now considered the national classical music. (I once managed to listen to a series of LPs of a Festival of Andalusian Music sponsored by the revolutionary government of Algeria in 1968--quite beautiful stuff, but not surprisingly there was no mention of Jews in the liner notes).

We can be grateful that the recording companies of the time did not act like the early musicologists, only recording what they thought might be 'pure', however defined. Au contraire, they recorded the Andalusian suites, the Piyyutim or religious hymns sung in North African Synagogues, the Aita of the Berbers, the music of the Haouz valley in Morocco, the music of the Shleuh Berbers as well as the topical songs of Sale born, Marrakech based singer songwriter Hussein Slaui, who included in his repertoire songs composed by Jews such as Maurice Atoun.

Until after World War Two very few ethnomusicologists recorded and studied the context of North African music with the exception of Frenchmen Alexis Chottin and Baron D'Erlanger. D'Erlanger was an independently wealthy aristocrat who almost single handedly revived the suites in Tunisia and insured their survival and continuity (We do not know if the ultimately Jewish origins of this French Catholic had affected him at an unconscious level).

This reminded me of the fact that one of the pioneers was the American composer and later-to-become-famous novelist, Paul Bowles who conducted a musical survey of Morocco in 1959. Bowles recorded anything and everything, including Synagogue music. The Moroccan authorities at the time gave him some grief, as they claimed that this music was a sign of undeveloped Morocco's 'backwardness'. (If you read Bowles autobiography carefully, you will deduce that his mother was a highly assimilated American Jew of German Jewish descent, which may explain the total lack of anti Semitism in any of Bowles' writing. If you read his novel The Sheltering Sky you will notice an episode where a local Arab spits on a Jew--it did not become a scene in Bertolucci's filmed version of the book).15

Chris and I agreed that despite a fair amount of ethnomusicological work that has now been carried out by visitors to North Africa during the last fifty years, there is as yet no book on Jewish/Muslim musical interaction during the 20th century. We do know that pop star Salim Halali was Jewish, but we know little about the context of his work and life as a major North African pop star who also made a name for himself in the nightclubs of France. (I found an Internet site, which points out that he survived Nazi-occupied Paris posing as a Muslim, but we have no corroborating evidence). Chris points out that this is not surprising given the fact that musicians did not like to teach and share their repertoire. It was their tradition to hoard music as they feared that the teaching of it would cut into their market share of what had traditionally been a limited number of performance opportunities.

But the rise of Jews in North African pop music was also part of a great migration that took place during colonial times, a migration of peasants to the cities, that had echoed the move from the farms to the towns of Europe during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. As France created French North Africa, peasants and tribesmen were free to migrate to the cities and take wage-paying jobs that were being created in the factories, hotels, restaurants and commercial estates of the incoming French-speaking colonialists. And, the rise of broadcasting created North African popular music.

The Jews of Morocco became active and willing participants in the modern economy introduced by Spanish and French colonists. The introduction of roads and trains thus turned local pilgrimage sites of local Jewish saints (the tombs of former miracle-workers who like their Muslim counterparts, were seen as intercessors between man and God) into national pilgrimage sites, thus amplifying Jewish social, ritual and ultimately musical interactions.

This was the period of the emergence of the night club in North Africa, so lovingly imitated and morphed into Rick's Café Americain in the noteworthy anti-Nazi film Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart. The nightclubs of urban North Africa were in some senses an extension of the traditional coffee or tea shop (where local marijuana called 'kif' was often consumed) where musicians performed and whose performances were then broadcast. Discs were produced and sold and as traditional ensembles had included Jews and Muslims, so did the modern ones. The listening audience was French, Muslim and Jewish.

The popularization of music created a star system. Salim Halali is one of the best known as was Samy Elmaghribi (whose family name was Amzallag). Perhaps in imitation of post-war French and American ensembles, Samy established an ensemble called "The Sammy Boys" reinventing himself as an oud playing, singer/star dressed in a Tuxedo--a kind of Moroccan crooner à la Frank Sinatra. At the same time, Hussein Slaui was writing his topical songs, one of the best known being "El Amerikan" where he pokes fun at American ways such as local girls with their 'chewing gum'. Ensembles were fluid as were repertoires. Contrary to the old days of hoarding, everyone performed everyone else's songs and genres were blurred.

The emergence of a popular music with a star system did not happen in a vacuum. Egypt had a head start with its own recording and film industry whose films and singing stars were seen across the Arab world. Egypt was a model for North African stars and although in Egypt pop music replaced folk music because of the movies, the Egyptian film did not steamroll North African music, either folkloric or popular, although North African pop stars performed many melodies from Egypt.

The influence of Mediterranean music from the north was also felt. Salim Halali was a great fan of Flamenco and seemed to follow a dress code that Liberace was perfecting in the West as was cross-dressing Turkish pop star Zeki Muren in Istanbul. "Blond Blond" was considered the North African equivalent to Charles Trenet or perhaps Maurice Chevalier. And of course Line Monty was likened to Edith Piaf.

Some of the most colorful stars of the period included Habiba Messika, a female Jewish Tunisian singer whose house was burned down by her jealous Jewish lover in a fit of rage. Not surprisingly one of her hit songs was called "I don't want to get married."

Zohra El Fassia, Reinette L'Oranaise, Lili Labassi, Lili Boniche, Cheikh Zouzou as well as Halali and Amzalag are just some of the many names of the big Jewish singers of North Africa from 1920-1970, when the last groups of Jews finally left North Africa three years after the Six Day War.
And of course they and their fans often fought over who was the best singer; supporters of Samy and Salim Halali to this day still disagree Amzallag moved to Montreal where he became a chazzan who had to also learn the Ashkenazi liturgy. Occasionally he would return to Morocco to perform, often at the request of King Hassan II. My colleague Judith Cohen, who is the curator of the Spanish collection for the Lomax Archive, studied oud with Amzallag. She told me that once during a lesson they were interrupted by a long distance call from the king of Morocco, his most powerful patron.

The Aftermath

After Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia regained their independence, Jews started migrating to Israel and Europe en masse. With the murder of Leyris in 1961 very few musicians stayed behind, with the exception of Haim Botbol and Felix el Maghrebi in Morocco.

The Azoulay brothers went to Israel where they promoted Jewish North African singers locally. In France, North African Jewish singers developed audiences of both Arab and Jewish migrants to France. Meanwhile, in Israel the subculture of North African music continued at homes and family festivals as well as at cafes and 'ethnic' clubs.

Some musicians moved to Israel, including a then little known oud player who eventually adopted the name Cheikh Mwijo. He fell on hard times in a country that had yet to rediscover its significant North African musical treasures. But in 1969 he restarted his career in Israel and recorded on Koliphone, a label kept alive by Moroccan immigrants in Tel Aviv who record and republish the recordings of North African Jewish singers.

We should not be surprised when we find out that one of Israel's best known actresses, Yael Abecasis, is the daughter of Raymonde, a popular Moroccan singer who is still active and who once played with Samy Elmaghribi. But others were less fortunate. Zohra El Fassia lived in poverty in the port city of Ashkelon in Israel whereas Brahim Swiri became a door-to-door peddler in Jerusalem.

In France, singers like Maurice El Medioni managed to keep their careers alive as was the case of Lili Boniche. And finally Cheikh Mwijo was rediscovered by a younger generation in Israel, with his songs subsequently covered by Israeli pop stars Tipex in the early 1990s.

But all of this North African Jewish music was just waiting to reemerge in a new cultural configuration that burst onto the Israeli scene after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when that country rediscovered its diverse musical heritage. The origins of this movement can symbolically be traced to what was once thought of as a 'one off' concert. In 1965 Moroccan-born Israeli singer Jo Amar performed some of his North African repertoire at Carnegie Hall in New York City.16 In a similar vein, after a visit to the Big Apple, Samy Elmaghribi recorded his splendid song in Moroccan Arabic where he sings of "New York, centre of America."

Last Thoughts

As I sat in Chris's living room in Brooklyn, a twenty minute subway ride from Carnegie Hall, listening to 78 rpms and 33 rpms of these musicians from his growing collection I thought back to 1976 when, as a budding oud player and aficionado of North African music, I took my instrument and myself to Morocco where I lived for a few months. There I went to the Marrakech Folk Festival to sample the full range of Moroccan folk music, jammed with local Arab musicians and spent a couple of weeks living with a Jewish family in Fez. On Saturday evenings we would go to a kosher restaurant and listen to recordings of Salim Halali and Samy Elmaghrebi.

Many years later I was walking down a street in Jerusalem. I heard the sounds of a Moroccan Jewish orchestra. I walked into the apartment, introduced myself in French and was warmly welcomed. Some of the guests and the musicians knew by name my former Jewish hosts in Fez from a few years back. The oud player was singing a song by Samy Elmaghrebi.

Although the Jewish men and women who composed and performed so much of modern North Africa Pop music have gone to France and Israel, their music is still popular on the streets of cities like Casablanca, Fez or Algiers. This rich repertoire has also risen like a phoenix in the land of Israel, France, and wherever North African Jews find themselves.

Chris then put on one last disc of a Tunisian Jewish recording artist who is unknown today. We listened to it without saying a word. It was a marvelous performance. I finished my mint tea, thanked him for his time and walked out on to the snowy sidewalks of Brooklyn. Chris is still at it and one day the full story of North Africa's Jewish pop stars will gain the recognition that it deserves. In the meantime, I recommend that you follow his blog. There are musical delights there that cannot be found anywhere else ( and


1. Geoffrey Clarfield is a musician and anthropologist. Trained as a classical opera singer at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, after many years as a child member of the Canadian Opera Company he left the opera, having  discovered during the 1960s, the North American roots music made popular by Alan Lomax and his colleagues. This led to an interest in the music of the Mediterranean and the Near East. He learnt to play the oud and the Turkish baglama from Gypsy (Roma) and Turkish musicians resident in Toronto with whom he then performed with regularly at night clubs and local festivals. In 1976 he spent many months among Moroccan musicians and later did ethnomusicological research in the Sinai desert among Bedouin Arab nomads. For over three decades, when the opportunity arises, he accompanies  Dr. Judith Cohen on the oud when she performs Sephardic women's songs. Dr. Cohen  is a world expert on Sephardic music, a gifted performer and a curator at the Alan Lomax Archive in Manhattan, where Clarfield is also an ethnomusicological consultant. His most recent project is the composition of oud music for a recorded reading of the short story, "Pasha" by New York's own Sephardic short story writer, Dr. Jane Mushabac.

2. See Trigano, Shmuel, "The Expulsion of the Jews From Muslim Countries; 1920-1970 A History of Ongoing Cruelty and Discrimination," Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, November 4, 2010. The murder of Leyris, although related to local Algerian conditions, was part of a much wider wave of Jewish persecution across the Arab world that drove out as many as 900,000 Jews during this fifty-year period. Interestingly, it was this same period that saw the rise and sudden displacement of North Africa's Jewish pop stars described in this article.

3. See p. 406 of the article "Music" by Agoston, Gabo and Masters, Alan in The Encyclopaedia of the Ottoman Empire, Facts on File, New York, 2009.

4. Page 103, Stow, Kenneth, Jewish Dogs, An Image and Its Interpreters, Stanford University, Press 2006. See also Ha Cohen, Ruth, The Music Libel Against the Jews, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2011.

5. See Page 187, Shakespeare, William, The Merchant of Venice, Folger Shakespeare Library, New York, 1992

6. See in particular the informative study on music and Islamic law, Music in Islam by Makhanlal Roy Choudhury, Sastri, H. Bhattacharya, Calcutta, 1957.

7. Today, most ethnomusicologists categorically reject the idea that one can figure out what music sounded like in places like North Africa before the rise of modern recordings. The dissenting voice was Alan Lomax and his colleagues of the Performance Style and Culture project whose controversial study divided the world into a limited number of song style areas that included North Africa. See Lomax, Alan Folk Song Style and Culture, AAAS, Washington DC, 1968.

8. The most recent study was done among the Syrian Jews of New York, see Kligman, Mark L., Maqam and Liturgy-Ritual, Music and Aesthetics of Syrian Jews in Brooklyn, Wayne State University Press, 2009.

9. For an exploration of common saint worship among Jews and Muslims in medieval Syria see, Meri, Joseph, The Cult of Saints among Muslims and Jews in Medieval Syria, Oxford University Press, USA, 2003.

10. For a fascinating interview on the relation between Spanish and North African music, read the interviews with scholar Dwight Reynolds here.

11. For a performance by the late Raymond Leyris link to the song "Kam Wakam" here.

12. For those interested in the history of the Jews of North Africa I recommend Chouraqui, André, Between East and West, A History of the Jews of North Africa, Scribner, 1973 or the more recent by Taieb-Carlen, Sarah, The Jews of North Africa From Dido to De Gaulle, University Press of America, 2010.

13. For a good brief article about early recording engineers see Paul Vernon's article, "A look at the engineers who made history travelling the world and recording its music" at:

14. For more on Yafil, a Jew who did not quite fit into the craze for all things French then overtaking North Africa's Jewry see Schroeter, Daniel J., Jewish Culture and Society in North Africa, Indiana University Press, 2011.

15. See Bowles, Paul, The Sheltering Sky, Ecco Press, 2005.

16. See Joe Amar's obituary in the New York Times, Weber, Bruce, "Joe Amar, Genre Blending Jewish Singer Dies at 79" July 9, 2009.


Agoston, Gabo and Masters, Alan. "Music" in The Encyclopaedia of the Ottoman Empire. New York: Facts on File, 2009.

Bowles, Paul. The Sheltering Sky. New York: Ecco Press, 2005.

Chouraqui, Andre. Between East and West, A History of the Jews of North Africa. New York: Scribner, 1973.

Ha Cohen, Ruth. The Music Libel Against the Jews. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011.

Makhanlal Roy Choudhury, Sastri. Music in Islam. Calcutta: H. Bhattacharya, 1957.

Meri, Joseph. The Cult of Saints among Muslims and Jews in Medieval Syria. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Reynolds, Dwight "The Musical Legacy of al Andalus" at

Schroeter, Daniel, J. Jewish Culture and Society in North Africa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011.

Shakespeare, William, The Merchant of Venice. New York: Folger Shakespeare Library, 1992.

Stow, Kenneth, Jewish Dogs, An Image and Its Interpreters. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006.

Taieb-Carlen, Sarah. The Jews of North Africa From Dido to De Gaulle. College Park, Md: University Press of America, 2010.

Trigano, Shmuel, "The Expulsion of the Jews From Muslim Countries; 1920-1970 A History of Ongoing Cruelty and Discrimination," Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, November 4, 2010

Vernon, Paul "A look at the engineers who made history travelling the world and recording its music" at:

Weber, Bruce, "Joe Amar, Genre Blending Jewish Singer Dies at 79" New York Times, July 9, 2009

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