Musical transmission and Palestinian exile narratives

Musical transmission and Palestinian exile narratives
Dr Louis Brehony


My PhD offers a social history of Palestinian music-making in the lives of three Britain-based exiles, discussing their upbringings in Gaza, Kuwait and historic Palestine. I argued that multiple cosmopolitan approaches to Palestinian music are shaped by social relationships to colonialism that are both prohibitive and productive. The effects of both Israel’s colonisation of historic Palestine and the time and place-specific conditions of places of exile, whether in the Middle East or Europe, have impacted musicians’ sense of what Palestinian music is, with a proliferation of approaches. I found that notions of sumud (“steadfastness”) and resistance remain relevant in the context of ongoing Palestinian dispossession. My fieldwork was UK-based, and included a substantive chapter on the situation faced by an asylum seeking vocalist. Interview material with the three main contributors was appended by a range of additional material gathered through contacts in the wider Palestinian music scene.


Dr Louis Brehony

Defended in


PhD defended at

King's College London, Music Department




Global Asia (Asia and other parts of the World)


Art and Culture