Salzbrunn [Abstract]

When the mosque goes Beethoven: Expressing religious belongings through music
[Full text]

Monika Salzbrunn [1]

Abstract:  The present article will provide insight on music as a vector of religious belonging: a female choir at a mosque in the Lake Geneva Metropolitan Region has reinterpreted Beethoven’s Ode to Joy with new text about the glory of the Messenger, and a regional political and religious event which has united music from Syria, Kosovo and Tunisia in order to put on stage the cosmopolitan characteristics of Swiss Muslims. Religious and national belonging as well as cultural references can be expressed in different ways through ritual practices (prayer), celebrations, food or clothing. These practices, influenced by gender and age, are highly diverse. Celebrations that are performed in public also depend on the local and global political context, the specific social situation and the specific place (location, public, legal framework etc.). As part of a broader research project on “(In)visible Islam in the city,” a research team directed by Monika Salzbrunn has observed various forms of celebration – both religious and secular festive events – in which Muslim citizens are involved. At what audience are these musical performances directed? Can we really separate an analysis of religious belongings from an analysis of political and/or cultural performances?

Keywords: Celebration, belonging, music, Islam, performance, urban studies, religion, politics, Switzerland

[1] University of Lausanne, Switzerland,