3256 - It's Ear-y: Amazonian Music Performance as Public Wealth

Most anthropologists looking at the history and contemporary ethnographies of lowland South American Indians have been searching in the wrong places to find public wealth--they should be using their ears to discover it. We need to pay attention to music and formal speech as they are performed within large, socially constructed, acoustic spaces. A common form of musical performances among the Ge-speaking groups of Brazil occurs as part of large public events or ceremonies. Often many individuals and sometimes different genders and ages participate, as well as non-human beings. The appropriate sounds for such events can only be successfully produced when all the appropriate individuals, groups, and beings participate through music making, dance, other social sounds, or silence. Are these collective performances public or private wealth? This paper discuses some of the features of public sounding and how it relates to public wealth and to indigenous concepts of person, ownership, and well-being.

Keywords: music, wealth, Ge, Suya, Kisedje

Author: Seeger, Anthony (UCLA, Ud States of Am / USA)


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