Rapping against Old and New Nazis: Bejarano and Microphone Mafia’s Multidirectional Musical Memory Work

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


Since 2008, the cross-generational and transcultural group Bejarano and Microphone Mafia, comprising of Auschwitz concentration camp survivor Esther Bejarano, her son Joram, and Kutlu Yurtseven and Rossi Pennino of the hip-hop duo Microphone Mafia, has made use of music to memorialize the Nazi period and the Holocaust in particular. In this article I examine the sounding memories of Bejarano and Microphone Mafia, drawing on participant observation in various performance contexts, semi-structured interviews with the group members, as well as an analysis of selected songs. Building on Michael Rothberg’s theoretical framework of “multidirectional memory,” I inquire into the songs and performances of the group as multidirectional musical memory work. Uncovering the multifaceted memory dynamics unfolding in their music and performances, I analyze how sounding memories of the Nazi period, and more recent memories of racist violence and far right terrorism—including the torching of refugee centers in the 1990s and the killings perpetrated by the neo-Nazi network NSU in the early 2000s, as well as memories of migrants’ experiences—especially those of the so-called Gastarbeiter generation—emerge in dialogue. My interrogation shows that songs and performances do not only serve as media of memory but give rise to new forms of solidarity and are envisaged as agents of change and social justice, which gain importance in the face of persisting racism and mounting calls to “move forward” from the Nazi past.
ZeitschriftMusic & Politics
Anzahl der Seiten23
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 01.12.2021