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Sounding Memories

Musical Memorializations of the Sinti and Roma Minority

The research scenario addresses contemporary musical practices as a terrain of both memorialization of WWII and construction of cultural identity of a minority community. By foregrounding music’s significance for identity formation at an individual and collective level, this scenario provides a unique vantage point within the "Sounding Memories" project to study the contribution of music in a context where memorialization is part of political emancipation, self-representation and formation of collective identities. Regarding the minority status of the Sinti and Roma, its linguistic and social distinctiveness, coupled with the ongoing history of discrimination, this scenario contributes to the overall research project by considering the possible contradictions and fractures in memorialization processes. It investigates how they dialogue with regional, national and international memorializations, providing a deeper understanding of cultural memories of persecution by and resistance to the NS-regime. 

The music of Sinti and Roma in Germany further serves as an example of memorialization which is largely based on oral transmission and has not undergone a substantial process of canonization. The process of transmission, however, is deeply affected by the absence of a whole generation that died during the Porajmos As a result, central to this scenario is a study of the current salience of hereditary musical families, who mediate family memories into collective cultural heritage and thereby challenge the divide between private and public memories.

Researcher: Martin Ringsmut