Golden Ages is an ethnographic study of young singers in the contemporary Brooklyn Hasidic community who base their aesthetic explorations of the culturally intimate space of prayer on the gramophone-era cantorial golden age. Jeremiah Lockwood proposes a view of their work as a nonconforming social practice that calls upon the sounds and structures of Jewish sacred musical heritage to disrupt the aesthetics and power hierarchies of their conservative community, defying institutional authority and pushing at normative boundaries of sacred and secular. Beyond its role as a desirable art form, golden age cantorial music offers aspiring Hasidic singers a form of Jewish cultural productivity in which artistic excellence, maverick outsider status, and sacred authority are aligned.
“In Golden Ages, Jeremiah Lockwood opens a window into the closed circle of Orthodox cantors seeking personal fulfillment and communal connection through a sometimes tense revival of classic cantorial recordings. His deep involvement with his collaborators enriches a study that has implications beyond Jewish life to broader issues of contemporary American spiritual expression and the ethnomusicology of religion.” — Mark Slobin, author of Chosen Voices: The Story of the American Cantorate
“Lockwood has an unparalleled ear for the intermingled dynamics of loss, creativity, and continuity. His special domain is Jews and their music, but his study speaks clearly to larger processes of cultural rescue and their limits.” — Jonathan Boyarin, author of Yeshiva Days: Learning on the Lower East Side
Jeremiah Lockwood is an independent scholar and a musician.
Lockwood, J. 2024. Golden Ages: Hasidic Singers and Cantorial Revival in the Digital Era. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.175
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