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Faculty of Music



Research Associate, Ottoman Auralities and the Eastern Mediterranean: Sound, Media & Power, 1789-1922
Research Associate, Peterhouse
Affiliate Researcher: Cambridge Interfaith Program and Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement



Music and Minorities
Gender Studies
Memory and Oral Tradition
Voice and Media
Mediterranean Music
Diaspora and Sound


Dr. Elbaz' work focuses on the cultural histories of sound in the diasporic regions of 1492’s expulsion, describing how issues of transmission, regeneration and the negotiations of gender and power intersect with sound, philosophy, and belief until today. Focusing on sonic transmission and languages of the Sephardi community and its diasporas as well as the use of music in relating to the national narratives of diversity in both Eastern and Western Mediterranean regions, her research combines ethnography and historical musicology to understand how voice, sound and music affect the long durée in diasporic communities. She is described as “a kind of one-woman roving museum of her own” by The New York Times, and was featured in a 2022 New York Times feature on Judeo Spanish women's music. Dr. Elbaz has also written extensively on Judeo-Muslim relations through culture and public diplomacy of popular music.  Her Ph.D. was awarded with félicitations du jury from Sorbonne’s CERMOM research group of the INALCO (Center for Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Studies of the National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilization), was nominated for the prize for the best dissertation of the year. She founded KHOYA: les archives sonores du Maroc juif in 2013 to gather, classify, archive and disseminate sounds, music and audiovisuals of the remaining Jewish community in Morocco. She has received numerous prestigious academic awards such as the H2020 Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellowship for her project MigrEnAb - Encoding, Absorption and Abandonment of Cultural Material during Migration: The Case of Judeo-Spanish Songbooks, a 2014-2016 Posen Fellow, a 2015-2018 Research Fellow of the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies, and a 2018 Broome and Allen Fellow from the American Sephardi Federation. In 2018 she was presented with an award for Vivre Ensemble from the Marocains Pluriels Association and honoured for her cultural contributions to Morocco by the Hassan II Mosque's Foundation. In 2019 she received the inaugural Florence Amzallag prize from the American Sephardi Federation and Mimouna Association at the Center for Jewish History in New York.

Dr. Elbaz is the Chair of the Mediterranean Music Studies Group of the International Council for Traditional Music and Dance (ICTMD), and the Treasurer of the British and Irish Association for Jewish Studies and serves on the Boards of the Tangier American Legation Institute of Moroccan Studies, the Jewish Music Institute and the Institute for Tolerance Studies.

Forthcoming volumes include a monograph La voix du détroit : chants, femmes, pouvoir dans le monde sépharade du Maroc. Studies in the History and Society of the Maghrib, Brill and a special issue of Journal Yod, Presses de l’INALCO  “ Judeo-Spanish Songbooks as a Sonic Technology of Transmission”.

She is Co-Editor for a volume entitled Sonic Interventions in the Western Mediterranean: Music and Sound, Memory and Meaning, Commissioned by The British Academy Proceedings and Oxford University Press.

Her work is regularly featured in the international press such as BBC, Al Jaz`eera, i24, France24, L'Express, NPR, PRI, Radio Pompidou etc and is a frequent consultant for documentary film projects and media pieces. She is also an internationally known performer of Sephardi repertoires.


Key publications: 

Refereed Journal articles

“Imagining a Sonic al-Andalus through Sound, Bones, and Blood: the Case of Jewish music in Morocco and Spain” Jewish Culture and History (2021) Published online October 22, 336-357

“Jewish Music in Northern Morocco and the Building of Sonic Identity boundaries” Journal for North African Studies (2021)

“Thomas Binkley’s Influence: Twenty Five Years On” Early Music, Volume 48, Issue 3, August 2020, 391–396

“De tu boca a los cielos: Jewish women’s songs in Northern Morocco as Oracles of Communal Holiness” Hesperis-Tamuda, Vol. LI- Fascicule 3 (2016) 239-261.

“Muslim Descendants of Jews in Morocco: Identity and Practice” Journal of Spanish, Portuguese and Italian Crypto-Jews. Vol 7 (2015) 41-60.

Book chapters

Oscillating Technologies of Sephardi Transmission: The Role of Notebooks and Orality” in Reflections on a New Mexican Crypto-Jewish Songbook. Ed. Seth Kunin, Lexington Books, 2023. 63-87.

Ajena tanto a la una como a la otra cosa: la integración del árabe y hebreo a la 'tonada' jaquetía por la mujer, según José Benoliel, filólogo Tangerino" in Amazônia Judaica 20 anos depois: História, memória, tradição e cultura. ed. Elias Salgado and Regina Igel. Editorial Talo Cultural, 2022. 355-364.

“Listening to the ‘Other’ through the Ear: Contemporary Traces of Protectorate Politics through Music” Hommage à Mohammed Kenbib, ed. Khalid Ben Sghrir, Faculté des Sciences Sociales et Humaines de Rabat. 2021. 401-427.

“Common Language: Popular Music and its Message” Jews and Muslims in Morocco: Uncommon Commonalities, ed. Jane Gerber, Joseph Chetrit and Drora Arussy, Lexington Books. 2021. 189-216.

“Connecting the Disconnect: Music and its Agency in Moroccan Cinema’s Judeo-Muslim Interactions” in Dynamic Jewish-Muslim Interactions across the Performing Arts in the Maghreb and France, 1920-2020. ed. Samuel Everrett and Rebekah Vince, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press (Francophone Postcolonial Studies series). 2020. 201-221.

“Female Narratives in Moroccan Judeo-Spanish Romances” in Mehqerei Ma’arav uMizrah Presented to Professor Moshe Amar. HaMichlala HaAcademit Ashkelon veMercaz Dahan. 2018. English in a Hebrew language volume, numbering indicates this, *1-*18.

Los Cantares de las Antiguas: recuerdos sobre la transmisión femenina en el Norte de Marruecos. Actas del 18 Congreso de Estudios Sefardíes del CSIC, Madrid 2014. Ed. Aitor García Moreno and Elena Romero. Centro Superior de Investigaciones Científicas. 2018. 78-99.

“Cultural Transfigurations : Trans.gressing B/orders, Ethnicities, Hegemonies and Differences (Prelude)” in Dialogic Configurations in Post-Colonial Morocco Rhetorical Conjectures in Arts, Culture and Politics. Rabat: International University of Rabat. 2018. 18-25.

“Kol b’Isha Erva: the Silencing of Jewish Women’s Oral Traditions in Morocco” in Gender and Law in the Maghreb, Ed. Doris Gray and Nadia Sonneveld, Cambridge University Press. 2017. 263-288.

“Trespassing religious boundaries: Mernissi's work in reading Jewish Moroccan women's lives” in Defaulting Boundaries of Islamic Feminism: The Dialogics of Difference in Fatema Mernissi’s Writing, Ed. Najib Mokhtari. International University of Rabat Press. 2017. 125-141.

“Judeo-Spanish Melodies in the Liturgy of Tangier: Feminine Imprints in a Masculine Space” in Musical Exodus: Al-Andalus and its Jewish Diasporas. Ed. Ruth Davis, Rowman & Littlefield. 2015. 25-43.

“The Power in Transmission: Haketia as a Vector for Women’s Communal Power” in Judeo-Spanish and the Making of a Community, Ed. Bryan Kirschen, Cambridge Scholars Press. 2015. 172-193.

“Judeo-Spanish in Morocco: Language, Identity, Separation or Integration?” in Migrations au Maghreb. Ed. Frederic Abecassis and Karima Dirèche. Centre Jacques Berque and CCME. La croisée de chemins. 2012. 103-112.

“Gender and Liturgy in Music: Masculine and Feminine Forms of Language and Ritual in Sephardic Secular and Sacred Music” in Perspectives on Jewish Music: Secular and Sacred. Ed. Jonathan L. Friedmann. Lexington Books. 2009. 77-96.

“¡Ay Esterica! Lover, Mother, Bride, Saint or Adulteress?  Gender, Language, Ritual and Power in Romances from Tangier’s Jews” in Performing Tangier. International Center for Performance Studies, Abdelmalek Essaadi University Press. 2009. 53-59.

Other publications: 

Selected Essays in Popular Press and Trade Volumes

On Music, Crossing Borders and the War on Terror: Sephardi and Mizrahi Musical Apotheosis”

Age of Confidence: The New Jewish Culture Wave, London: The History Press, October 2021.

The Hidden Meanings of Ladino Music and Poetry Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. 2021. January 7.

We are not Gold Coins On the Death of Rachel Muyal Doyenne of Moroccan Judaism Tablet. 2020. April 9.

Interroger un monde disparu: L’exposition Exils au Musée de la foundation du patrimoine judéo-marocain à Casablanca. in Exils paradigme fertile. Ed. Nadia Sabri. Edition La Fennec. 2020. 75-78.

Maison-Mère, Foyer et Tradition dans les exils des juifs marocains in Exils paradigme fertile. Ed. Nadia Sabri. Editions La Fennec. 2020. 118-122.

Por Qué No Cantais, La Bella? Reading Women’s Agency into the Sephardic Musical Canon in The Patriarchy Issue, AJS Perspectives: Spring. 2019.

White Women aren’t the first to Defend Patriarchy Against their own Interests. The Forward, 2019. October 24.

Other Professional Activities

Keynote lectures:

  • Keynote for Workshop Mus/ar/t Art Meets Scholarship, Universität Hamburg, March 28-29, 2023.
  • Keynote for the conference Away from Home: Ideas, Emotions, Images and Writings on Homesickness in the Mediterranean World (1492-1923) Biblioteca National de Portugal, Universidad Novã de Lisboa, June 20-21, 2022.
  • Keynote “The Body, the Voice and the Matriarch: Sonic Transmission of (En)gendering beyond Language    and Belief” (En)gendering Ladino ucLadino, University of California Los Angeles, April 11, 2022.
  • Keynote “Judeo-Spanish women's songs in Morocco: the discovery of the core communal role of a nearly forgotten repertoire”. E. Allison Peers Symposium  on Minorities in the Hispanic World: Contemporary and Historical Contexts & Perspectives, Peers Annual Lecture, University of Liverpool, October 30 2019.
  • Keynote “Sephardi Women and Patriarchy” Interfaith Conference at Berry College, Georgia. March 27 2019.

Conference Organization:

Co-Chair of Programming Committee for The Body in Action: Performance, Ritual and Dance 15th Symposium of the Mediterranean Music Study Group Pelermo, Italy September 23-27, 2024. 

Member of Programming Committee for Music, Bridges, Passages: Towards a Mediterranean paradigm? 14th ICTM Mediterranean Music Study Group Symposium, Marseille, June 26-30, 2023.

Organizer and Convenor of Workshop on Trance, Ritual Sound and Migration, Magdelene College, Cambridge. January 24, 2023.

Co-Organizer of Creative and Artistic Encounters in the Western Mediterranean, University of Aberdeen, September 5-7, 2022.

Chair of Programming Committee. Music, Power, and Space: a Mediterranean perspective, 13th Symposium for the International Council for Traditional Music Mediterranean Music Study Group, September, Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies and Musée des Cultures Mediterranéens, Tangier, 2021.

Co-convenor and organiser of Yallah: Judeo-Arabic Music Workshop and Conference. Hosted by the Jewish Music Institute in collaboration with Musical Encounters across the Strait of Gibraltar. SOAS, University of London. February 9-10, 2020.

Co-convenor and organiser of Evolutions or revolutions? Contemporary Middle Eastern and North African Music, their traditions and new tendencies, INALCO, International colloquium, Paris, June 13-14, 2017.

Lecture series curator and organiser, SOC Casablanca, 2016-2018.

Convenor Colloquium on Written and recorded traces from Jewish Tangier. Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies, May 23, 2014.