Recollecting from the Past: Musical Practice and Spirit Possession on the East Coast of Madagascar

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Wesleyan University Press, Mar 27, 2002 - History - 241 pages
Studies interconnections between sound production, spirit possession, colonialism and ceremonial remembering in Madagascar.

The first serious ethnomusicological study of Malagasy music, Recollecting from the Past evokes the complex sound and performative aesthetic in Madagascar called maresaka. Maresaka pertains not only to musical expression but extends into ways of remembering the past, aesthetics of everyday life, and Malagasy concepts of self and community.

Ron Emoff focuses on tromba spirit possession ceremonies in which Malagasy use devotional practice as an occasion to expressively re-figure worlds often impeded by colonialism and postcolonial phenomena, extreme material poverty, and widespread illness. Malagasy not only preserve the past, but they interpret, revalue and transform it to their own ends. Music is crucial to these performances since powerful ancestral spirits will not enter into the present if not enticed by masterful musical performances, and so music itself provides a complex symbolic system with which Malagasy can recall and reconstruct the past. This groundbreaking study will be of interest to readers in the fields of anthropology, ethnomusicology, cultural studies, African studies, postcolonial and performance studies.
 

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Contents

Map of Madagascar
26
Zoma Velo possessed putting body onto valiha during tromba ceremony Velontsoa on valiha
53
Very Soa playing accordion from his fruitstand at the large central market the bazary be in Tamataveville
58
Segment of midegana performed on valiha by Velontsoa
66
Three rhythms inherent in most Malagasy ceremonial music
68
Vinelo preforming on maro tady
71
s Improvisation within smallphrase structure of midegana
77
Improvisation within mira feo
78
Tombo Daniels valiha tuning
93
Antandroy mira feo valiha tuning
95
Structure of the diatonic button accordion
98
Very Soas alterations of the Viennastyle accordion
100
Very Soa making accordion adjustments
103
Jily performing on accordion at one of Andréas tromba ceremonies
131
Andréa possessed at tromba altar
132
Segment of Betsimisaraka tune also favored by Antandroy
139

Phrase of Volonaomby performed on accordion by Jily
79
Head from Tanorani Dadilahy
80
Improvisation segment from Tanorani Dadilahy
83
Jean Dedier from the Tamatave countryside with Betsimisaraka tôle valiha
92
PHOTOS
191
Notes
203
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Ron Emoff is Assistant Professor of Music at Ohio State University-Newark. He received the PhD in Ethnomusicology from the University of Texas at Austin. Thereafter he taught as a Lecturer at University of Texas, University of California (Santa Barbara), and was awarded a year-long Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship for the preparation of this book

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