Alessandra Ciucci Publishes Article in Ethnomusicology Forum

Alessandra Ciucci, Assistant Professor of Music, has published "Performing 'L-alwa:' A Sacred and Erotic Journey in Morocco" in Ethnomusicology Forum vol. 26 No. 2 (2017): 151-70.(Link:

'L-ʿalwa’, a sung poem whose text recounts the pilgrimage to a saint’s shrine in Morocco, is celebrated for its ability to convey images and emotions stirred up by the sacred journey. As part of the repertory of ʿaiṭa—a genre of sung poetry from the Moroccan plains and plateaus traditionally performed by professional female singer-dancers [shikhat] and nowadays categorised as popular music [shʿabi]‘L-ʿalwa’ presents an interesting case study through which it is possible to analyse the porosity between local constructions of the sacred and the secular in relation to a genre which is not explicitly associated with the sacred or with sacred performances. My analysis of salient moments of a performance of ‘L-ʿalwa’ at a wedding celebration in Morocco explores how the shikhat move across the sacred and the secular, and the central role that eroticism [ghram or mshka] plays in the porosity between these categories in performance.