The exhibition Jukebox, Jewkbox! has opened at the Jewish Museum Hohenems, London. It explores the Jewish contribution to contemporary music, from technological breakthroughs to popular culture.
In the late 19th century, the German-Jewish emigrant Emil Berliner invented the gramophone and the record. His invention revolutionised the music industry and brought on a new age of mass entertainment. Jukebox, Jewkbox! explores the impact of Berliner’s invention. Through a mixture of media and ephemera, it recounts the experience of the 20th century through shellac and vinyl, and celebrates the history of Jewish musicians, composers, inventors, songwriters and music producers – including Yossele Rosenblatt, Moishe Oysher, Jan Peerce and Naftali Hershtik.
At the heart of the exhibition is also the Jewish musical experience in the 20th century, such as how the introduction of recorded synagogue music to the reinvention of Jewish folk music. Topics covered include the success of Yiddish theatre songs on Broadway and the Jewish reaction to punk.
Speaking before the exhibition's opening, curator Joanne Rosenthal said that it "celebrates the role Jews have played in the history of recorded music, both from an artistic standpoint and as industry influencers.”