Landscapes of Indigenous Performance

Landscapes of Indigenous Performance cover

Fiona Magowan

Karl Neuenfeldt

Anthropology and Archaeology
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$39.95 RRP incl. GST


Landscapes of Indigenous Performance brings together a wide range of contemporary explorations of Indigenous music and dance in the Torres Strait and the tropical regions of the Northern Territory.

This collection shows how traditional music and dance have responded to colonial control in the past and more recently to other external forces beyond local control. It looks at musical pasts and presents as a continuum of creativity; at contemporary cultural performance as a contested domain; and at cross-cultural issues of recording and teaching music and dance as experienced by Indigenous leaders and educators, and non-Indigenous researchers and scholars.

Indigenous and non-Indigenous contributors demonstrate how local music and dance genres have been subject to missionary, institutional, popular and global influences. They offer an understanding of the cultural background and history of Torres Strait music; they discuss how contemporary Christian music and dance in Arnhem Land incorporate traditional ritual; they unpack the complex form and structure of an Australian Aboriginal song series; and they examine the transformation of a nineteenth-century American popular song into a 'traditional' anthem of the Torres Strait. The book also examines the interface between Aboriginal ritual, movement and the environment as portrayed on film; and explores the issues raised by the presence of Aboriginal performers in the white university classroom.

Landscapes of Indigenous Performance is of critical importance for those involved in the fields of music, dance and performance in general.

Reviews and endorsements

For a brief and highly specialized piece of work, Landscapes of Indigenous Performance offers many items of interest to anthropologists not only of dance and of northern Australia but to all anthropologists interested in the confluence of traditional and modern cultures and in the general matter of performance. I hope that the volume receives the attention that it deserves and that it spurs further work on these crucial subjects.

— Jack Eller, Anthropology Review Database, 3 September 2010

Landscapes of Indigenous Performance contributes to the current knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts, culture and history. It is both accessible and scholarly and it brings together new information on Torres Strait and northern-Australian Aboriginal performance. There is something for everyone in the book. It is a timely, interesting and informative publication.

— Samantha Faulkner, Australian Humanities Review, Issue 46, 2007

Landscapes of Indigenous Performance will be of interest both to readers of research in Indigenous performance and culture, and to other academic readers with interests in many different areas of the performing arts, humanities, and social sciences.

— Steven Knopoff, Ethnomusicology, Fall 2008

Last reviewed: 9 Jul 2020