Amazonia

[Translate to english:] Amazonien

"Music making is an important endeavor in many native South American societies. It is quite possible that there are places and times when music is the chosen mode for many social processes", Anthony Seeger wrote in 1987. The challenge of finding these places and times, to document, analyse and interpret them in close collaboration with local research assistants was chosen by Bernd Brabec de Mori as his main research focus. Thereby he focuses on western Amazonian indgenous groups living in the Ucayali valley in the Peruvian rainforests.

[Foto links: Jan Brabec, 2004.]

On the one hand, a deep concern of many local people, that their musical knowledge might get lost in the near future, is met with "safeguarding" documentations and editions. On the other hand, research focuses on ethnomusicological and social anthropological analysis of musical social processes, e.g. music at festivities, love and drinking songs, war and hunting dances, and furthermore music in magical invocations and rituals. Specifically in ritual music it becomes more and more evident that Seeger's "social processes" have to be extended far beyond the borders of the human (as conceived in Western societies). The magical praxis of healing and sorcery in the Amazon is based upon musical communication with animals, plants, the deceased, and spiritual or demonic beings. These may understand human language when it is superformalised through singing. The role of music in such animist worldviews (or world hearings) is paramount not only locally but likewise among many more societies on Earth. In collaboration with colleagues who apply similar approaches towards local expertise, this role of music is also looked into in other regions including North America, Africa, Asia, and Europe.