A “Folk” Fusion Sound and New Age Vocal Timbre

There is here, however, a double-layered angelism, which infects Dadawa’s soul and thus the message (and timbre) of her song. Fist of course is the ghost (memory) of innocent children; second of course is the sound of keening (Enya as also Davy Whelan’s pipe) feature the Celtic wail…).

On the other end one is directed (in an illogical way) to song and dances of supposedly untouched communities, unburdened by writing or radiowaves or even cassette decks, lead (taught) instead by the totems and shamans that are almost definitional of their state of being. Descriptives or shorthands that come to mind are “aboriginal”, “primitive”, primal, pristine or virginal, though none exactly fits, and for a good reason, for as we know from laboratory theory, there is no “knowing” or objective description that does not by its very procedures interfere with or alter the object of its scrutiny. To observe is to change, however subtly. Field anthropologists do not deny this problem, but try to get round it by testing against what (they are) told happens in adjacent settlements, looking for confirming consistencies or rebutting discrepancies in the telling of foundation stories, hunting for in-place (non-hisorical) taboos against socializing or feasting en commune, persistent inter-village fighting over forest or water use aand the like – all signs of horizontal isolation. Rifts to be sure, and maps of crevices rarely overleapt. But ferreting out what lies behind these fences (and they are always well guarded by superstition and fear) is haphazard: no rite or celebration is viewe(able) from the outside without defense or coyness from the inside. Which is why responsibility for defining or shelving slips from anthropology to museumology, and the mysteries of the the physyical “primal” are surrendered to eco-museums as if frozen, mummies of the past that might never have been much more than a moment. 原始村落. 翁丁佤族原生态村

In practice, in-the-field witnessing is persuasive to the extent it confesses confession: the truly primal is no doubt best enacted or described (much as the Caribbean Indians’ presentations to Columbus) by middlemen who have “gotten” their methods as it were by hearsay, from unencountered just-over-the-horizon cousins or ancients long underground). But the idea persists that there are places untouched by time or exterior intrusion – the core concept. The correlative in performance terms is usually understood to be self-defensive (other-terrifying) noise: shouting, drumming, leaping, with the Great Drum (or chorus of…) being the all-important acoustical centering machine, but a chorus of loud and dissonent reedpipes often filling the same function.

Yet a fascination with the notion of aboriginal, “beastly” performance art persists among scholars, as well, we should note, as among performing musicians and dancers. One obvious reason is its cousinage with rock, even hip-hip (jietou wu), whose rhythms and atmospheres of excitement seem almost like surviving barbarisms: from headbanging metallica style one extrapolates backward to a phantasmic pre-history of earth-music, true “ab-original” ity, uninhibited, unembarrassed by outsider judgement. It is a trope that will not go away.

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