Two Songs For Red Girl: Music And Language In Eastern Amazonia

Evening talk

This talk has already happened.

Guilherme Orlandini Heurich

Two Songs For Red Girl: Music And Language In Eastern Amazonia

Tuesday, November 6, 2018 - 18:45

The Araweté are 500 maize cultivators and hunters that live in Eastern Amazonia in seven villages in the Brazilian State of Pará. They have been in contact with Brazilian government representatives since the late 1970s and most of them currently speak Portuguese. The two songs examined in this talk belong to the “Music of the Gods” poetic genre, although they are quite unique. One of them is a “spirit capturing” song in which the shaman searches the outskirts of the village at night to capture the Anĩ spirits, who are often responsible for deaths amongst the Araweté. What is important, here, is that these two songs – the song that captures spirits and the one that heals lost souls – are connected through the same event. Red Girl, my neighbour who loves listening to recordings of shamanic songs, was pierced by a spirit’s arrow and became gravely ill. The Songs were her relatives' attempt to rescue her from this dire situation.

More about Guilherme Orlandini Heurich

Evening talk information

Our evening talks include discussion, are free and open to all.

Next evening class

Alice Rudge

Dangerous Laughter: Egalitarianism And The Batek Of Peninsular Malaysia
Tuesday, May 28, 2019 - 19:00
Daryll Forde Seminar Room, Anthropology Building, 14 Taviton Street, London WC1H 0BW. Tube: Euston Square. map

In the Batek’s forest, laughter and mockery are often subject to taboo, and inappropriate laughter or mockery can cause storms, madness, ill-health, or even death. However, although these taboos are viewed and described with utmost seriousness, people also find great pleasure in laughing together and making jokes. In fact, this pleasure is often intensified when the laughter or joke is forbidden and risks catastrophe. This sets up a dynamic whereby it is largely up to individuals whether they choose to follow the taboos, or to ignore them and succumb to the pleasure of sharing in subversive laughter. Speaking to debates on power and ethics, this paper therefore both outlines the Batek’s laughter taboos, and asks how managing the conflicting demands of laughter shapes people’s ethical values, particularly in relation to power, authority, and egalitarianism.