cover of book

Keepers of the Sacred Chants: The Poetics of Ritual Power in an Amazonian Society
by Jonathan D. Hill
University of Arizona Press, 1993
Cloth: 978-0-8165-1135-8
Library of Congress Classification F2270.2.C87H55 1993
Dewey Decimal Classification 299.883

The Wakuenai of the upper Rio Negro region in southern Venezuela employ a form of singing called malikai for ceremonies of childbirth, initiation, and healing. This ritual chanting is a rich amalgam of myth and music, and serves as a means of integrating individuals into a vertical hierarchy of power relations between mythic ancestors and human descendants. Jonathan Hill here shows how the musical and semantic transformations of everyday discourse in malikai integrate the everyday world into a poetic process of empowerment.
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