Why Suy Sing: A Musical Anthropology of an Amazonian People

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University of Illinois Press, 2004 - Music - 159 pages
Like many other South American Indian communities, the Suy Indians of Mato Grosso, Brazil, devote a great deal of time and energy to making music, especially singing. In paperback for the first time, Anthony Seeger's Why Suy Sing considers the reasons for the importance of music for the Suy--and by extension for other groups-- through an examination of myth telling, speech making, and singing in the initiation ceremony.

Based on over twenty-four months of field research and years of musical exchange, Seeger analyzes the different verbal arts and then focuses on details of musical performance. He reveals how Suy singing creates euphoria out of silence, a village community out of a collection of houses, a socialized adult out of a boy, and contributes to the formation of ideas about time, space, and social identity.

This new paperback edition features an indispensable CD offering examples of the myth telling, speeches, and singing discussed, as well as a new afterword that describes the continuing use of music by the Suy in their recent conflicts with cattle ranchers and soybean farmers.


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from speech to song
Singing as a creative activity
the mystery of rising pitch in a rainy season song
Leaping dancing and singing the Mouses song
Why Suy sing
Afterword to the Illinois Paperback Edition

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About the author (2004)

Anthony Seeger is an anthropologist, ethnomusicologist, archivist and record producer. He is the director emeritus of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and currently teaches ethnomusicology at UCLA.

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