Sustaining Indigenous Songs: Contemporary Warlpiri Ceremonial Life in Central Australia | BERGHAHN BOOKS
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Sustaining Indigenous Songs: Contemporary Warlpiri Ceremonial Life in Central Australia

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Sustaining Indigenous Songs

Contemporary Warlpiri Ceremonial Life in Central Australia

Georgia Curran
Foreword by Otto Jungarrayi Sims

206 pages, 25 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-607-4 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (January 2020)

eISBN 978-1-78920-608-1 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“In summary, the book is well-structured, theoretically solid, and ethnographically nuanced and delivers what its title promises: indeed, its strongest feature is the account of continuity and change in Warlpiri ceremonies with a focus on songs. While it will be of value to anthropologists interested in themes such as Aboriginal people, anthropology of music and performance studies, it can also offer a nuanced, albeit challenging in a few parts, introduction to the Aboriginal world(s) for the general audience.” • Anthropological Notebooks

“I believe the book to provide quite a fascinating and up-to-date glimpse of Warlpiri music, a people who have had many academic collaborators, but whose musical traditions have not received sustained attention in recent years.” • Peter Toner, St. Thomas University

“This is a richly detailed ethnography of Warlpiri ritual and song… [It] offers a deeply textured analysis of the Kurdiji ceremony which unpacks the ceremonial structure of kin relations, the dances of ‘travelling ancestral women’ and the semantics of the song series performed by the men.” • Fiona Magowan, Queen’s University Belfast


As an ethnography of Central Australian singing traditions and ceremonial contexts, this book asks questions about the vitality of the cultural knowledge and practices highly valued by Warlpiri people and fundamental to their cultural heritage. Set against a discussion of the contemporary vitality of Aboriginal musical traditions in Australia and embedded in the historical background of this region, the book lays out the features of Warlpiri songs and ceremonies, and centers on a focal case study of the Warlpiri Kurdiji ceremony to illustrate the modes in which core cultural themes are being passed on through song to future generations.

Georgia Curran is an anthropologist with interests in Indigenous music, languages and rituals. She lived in the Central Australian desert settlement of Yuendumu between 2005-2007 and has since continued to work on collaborative research projects with Warlpiri people. She is currently a research associate at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Subject: Anthropology (General)Anthropology of ReligionCultural Studies (General)
Area: Asia-Pacific


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