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Sustaining Indigenous Songs
Contemporary Warlpiri Ceremonial Life in Central Australia
Foreword by Otto Jungarrayi Sims
206 pages, 25 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78920-607-4 $120.00/£89.00 Hb Published (January 2020)
eISBN 978-1-78920-608-1 eBook
“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.