Island Songs
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Island Songs : A Global Repertoire

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Island Songs is a work of sonic anthropology that does more than probe song as a part of the sociocultural life on islands. It illuminates how song performs island life. Gathered here are 15 case study chapters on islands in the Caribbean, North Atlantic, Mediterranean, Baltic, and the South Pacific, all framed by four eclectic, conceptual essay contributions. In Island Songs, islands are presented as distinct vantage points for observing the merger of the local and the global, as poignantly expressed through song. This book brings together the perspectives and experiences of sociologists, anthropologists, geographers, cultural studies specialists, folklorists, ethnomusicologists, singers, and musicians. Island Songs will interest not only ethnomusicologists but any and all scholars interested in the effects of globalization on traditional cultures.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 340 pages
  • 162 x 240 x 27mm | 658g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 7 Tables, unspecified
  • 0810881772
  • 9780810881778
  • 1,680,216

Review quote

This stellar collection of essays, edited by Godfrey Baldacchino, fills a gap in recent literature on song and its connection to island life...Island Songs is well organized, diverse, and thought-provoking. As part of the AIRS Project (Advancing Interdisciplinary Research in Singing), the cumulative effect of these essays clearly demonstrates how song and music serve not only as important subjects in themselves, but also shed light on many other fields of enquiry, including ethnomusicology, anthropology, and history. * Island Studies * This edited volume brings ethnomusicologists, sociologists, anthropologists, cultural studies specialists, and geographers into conversation with practising artists and dedicated island studies scholars to examine songs and singing on selected islands around the world. Geographies range from the English, French and Spanish Caribbean, to Cape Breton and Newfoundland, the Hebrides and Jersey, Fiji, Chiloe, Sicily, Papua New Guinea, Ibiza and Gotland, with other islands mentioned along the way. This volume is ambitious in its broad approach to both the study of songs and singing, as well as its engagement with the theory of Island Studies in itself....offers coherent case studies, which each grapple with the array of island songs. * Cultural Geographies * Sprinkled among the macro observations in Island Songs are sparkling gems of detailed insight that capture the reader's imagination and linger in the memory.... As the contemporary proliferation of island music festivals around the globe confirms, modern fascination with islands persists, often fueled by persistent and simplistic stereotypes of exotic people living in isolation in a fossilized past. In Island Songs: A Global Repertoire, Baldacchino and colleagues provide an antidote to such views. This engaging collection of serious studies illustrates the contemporary relevance of island life and shows how often island songs speak not only for those who create them but also for us. * Journal of Historical Research in Music Education * In Island Songs: A Global Repertoire, edited by Baldacchino, the writers aim to 'provide a global review of how island songs, their lyrics and their singers engage with the challenges of modernity, migration, and social change-uncovering common patterns despite the diversity and local character of their subjects.' . . . .Several of the chapters stood out in terms of clarity of writing and richness of content. Owe Ronstroem's 'Gotland: Where `Folk Culture' and 'Island' Overlap' eloquently describes how there are very few traditional songs with concrete details about the island or island conditions . . . .[T]his is an outstanding collection of case studies that chronicles the ways in which song is essential to many island communities globally. It will be useful to readers in a range of fields including ethnomusicology, area studies, anthropology and folklore, as well as anyone investigating contemporary culture themes. * MUSICultures * The authors' variety of experience and qualifications allow this welcome and timely book to investigate broadly what the act of singing tries to express and achieve, what cultural, emotional and psychological effects it has on performers and audiences, and how those beneficial effects might be translated into social policy. This study of what singing is and does and can do is a valuable addition to any university music or ethnomusicology programme. -- Richard M. Moyle, Centre for Pacific Studies, University of Auckland Island Songs takes the reader on a musical journey across the seas to discover the rich and complex connections between songs, singing and island cultures. Bringing together a diverse range of case studies from Ibiza to Fiji, Sicily to Newfoundland, the edited book explores the ways Islander singers negotiate the local and the global, traditional and contemporary, and identity and place through song. It provides a significant and exciting contribution to understanding the power of song in Islander communities across the world. -- Katelyn Barney, University of Queensland There is benefit to approaching the world's island cultures in comparative perspective; not because they are natural laboratories but for precisely the opposite reason; they are hubs in flows of ideas and practices. This compendium designed to 'advance interdisciplinary research in singing' bears out the fruits of such comparison. Godfrey Baldacchino and colleagues explore the roles of singing in revealing and performing (island) cultures. Analyses and interpretations convey transformative dynamics of island peoples, voices raised in song. Authors point to coded secrets, political critique and social justice, to subtle palimpsests of history, deeply rooted in place yet adapting to tension, hybridity and mobility, to songs saturated with identity and the spirit to reaffirm community. They debunk romantic island imagery introducing rich countercurrents in song and emphasizing both local meanings and stylistic fusion. This work bears reading and rereading. Dissemination within the academy and beyond to schools, choirs, performers, elders, patients and their therapists promises significant impact. -- Janet Dixon Keller, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
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About Godfrey Baldacchino

Godfrey Baldacchino is Canada Research Chair (Island Studies) at the University of Prince Edward Island, Canada; Visiting Professor of Sociology at the University of Malta; and Founding Executive Editor of Island Studies Journal. He is a theme co-leader within the Advancing Interdisciplinary Research in Singing (AIRS) initiative, with core funding from the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada. Baldacchino is the author and editor of many books, including Island Enclaves (2010), A World of Islands (2007), and Bridging Islands (2007).
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