In the postmodern condition, individuals are flooded with images, symbols, and content from various traditions and cultural contexts. How does tradition change in its postmodern uses? How does folklore fill the contemporary need for “authenticity”? This article presents three models of adapting folkloric materials, reflecting different ways of coping with issues such as identity, community, tradition, multiculturalism, and the desire to fill some of the emptiness experienced by individuals in the complex cultural context of the postmodern condition characterizing contemporary Western culture. The liturgical poem “Im Nin’alu”—referenced and shaped differently by Ofra Haza, Madonna, and Offer Nissim—constitutes a test case for examining a variety of models for adapting traditional material, with varying degrees of postmodernity. The first model seeks to experience authenticity through a restoration of, or return to, “tradition.” The second one, shaped in the context of World Music, springs from a spirituality that yearns for an “authentic” experience as manifested through a tradition that belongs to the culture of the Other. The third model, which we term “remix spirituality,” seeks to generate an ecstatic experience in an ultra-postmodern manner.


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pp. 199-231
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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