A song of longing : Ethiopian journey /
by Kay Kaufman Shelemay.
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, c1991.
xxii, 177 p. : map ; 23 cm.
0252017986 (cloth)
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Urbana : University of Illinois Press, c1991.
0252017986 (cloth)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references.
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1992-10:
Field-research memoirs bring refreshing insight often missing from the dry academic monographs scholars tend to publish. Readers often learn much about the researcher, motivations and difficulties confronted, and the context of the study i.e, the "reflexive" aspect of the encounter with the subject population. This volume is most satisfying at all those levels and more. The author's experience with the Beta Israel, the Falashas of Ethiopia, in the early 1970s may be the last in-situ scholarly account we can expect, because the revolution and civil war prevented subsequent access to them in the Lake Tana area. Personal distractions of romance, marriage, and adjustment to a different cultural milieu amidst a military coup first curtailed and then broadened the author's research. "Genderless" status complicated the establishment of close relationships with Falasha informants. In the end, we are reassured that resourcefulness is a human quality that makes for both good research and an interesting tale. One would not have expected ethnomusicological research to have been quite so exciting nor the scholarly implications of the findings to be so provoking and critical in understanding the social evolution of a population. Highly recommended for both undergraduate and graduate collections in ethnomusicology, anthropology, African, and Judaic studies. L. D. Loeb; University of Utah
Appeared in Library Journal on 1991-12:
This narrative offers a rich, descriptive account of the author's study of Ethiopian music and culture from 1973 to 1975. Shelemay's study of the sacred music of Beta Israel and Ethiopian Christian musical traditions emanates from numerous ethnographic sources, including field notes, journals, correspondence, and memory. Those who enjoy reading tales of perseverance will appreciate learning of the author's struggles as she, her husband, and other members of the Adenite Jewish community in Addis Ababa adjusted to the Ethiopian revolution's immediate impact. The author presents extraordinary personal experiences that shaped her research process and makes reading this text pleasurable.-- LaDonne Roberts, Mississippi State Univ. Lib., Mississippi State (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, December 1991
Choice, October 1992
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Unpaid Annotation
In 1973 Kay Kaufman flew to Ethiopia to do research on music in the villages of the Beta Israel, often called the Falasha or Ethiopian Jews. In A Song of Longing, she reveals how two events, her marriage to a Sephardic Jew in Addis Ababa and the cataclysmic Ethiopian revolution, not only complicated her life but unexpectedly made it possible for her to unravel the complexities of the Beta Israel liturgy and music.

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