Singing the Land: The Power of Performance in Aboriginal Life
For the Aboriginal people of Australia, songs and dances have encoded their history and religion, their social organisation, and their connectedness to the land for 60,000 years.
As research assistant to the eminent musicologist Alice Moyle, and later on her own behalf, Jill Stubington spent many years between 1960 and 1980 in remote regions of Australia learning to listen to this music, to understand its complexity, its central role in identity, social cohesion, celebration and the resolution of family conflict.
From 1960 new sound and film equipment widened the opportunities for recording; and soon the guitar and recorded popular music began to intermingle with the traditional styles. It became a matter of urgency to use the new technology to preserve the old culture.
Jill was charged with the task of helping the younger generation reunite with their inheritance. Singing the Land is her response. It gives a compelling account of the underlying culture of ceremony and provides listening guides and music notations for the CDs now available to the public.
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