Melodies of Mourning invites the reader to rethink the place of ecology in music and emotion and how emotions transcend cultural differences.
It explores senses of the environment in the Northern Territory of Australia and how sentiments of place and belonging are performed in song. It argues that the environment is not just a mnemonic for singing and dancing but the basis of performing and embedding ritualised sentiment. It shows how sounds and the senses shape feelings for the landscape and seascape and argues that strings of performative emotion are gendered in ritual.
Exploring these themes in relation to Yolngu of north east Arnhem Land, the book finally considers how religious music and dance shape emotion across ancestral and Christian contexts.
Praise for Melodies of Mourning:
This is a clearly and beautifully written book, the fruit of many years’ reflection and continuing contact with the people of Arnhem Land.WENDY JAMES, FBA, OXFORD UNIVERSITY
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