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Potomac Books


Burst of Breath, Burst of Breath, 0803220928, 0-8032-2092-8, 978-0-8032-2092-8, 9780803220928, Edited by Jonathan D. Hill and Jean-Pierre Chaumeil, , Burst of Breath, 0803238266, 0-8032-3826-6, 978-0-8032-3826-8, 9780803238268, Edited by Jonathan D. Hill and Jean-Pierre Chaumeil

Burst of Breath
Indigenous Ritual Wind Instruments in Lowland South America
Edited by Jonathan D. Hill and Jean-Pierre Chaumeil

2011. 440 pp.
26 illustrations, 1 map, 2 tables, 5 figures
$45.00 s

The first in-depth, comparative, and interdisciplinary study of indigenous Amazonian musical cultures, Burst of Breath showcases new research on the dynamic range of ritual power and social significance of various wind instruments—including flutes, trumpets, clarinets, and whistles—played in sacred rituals and ceremonies in Lowland South America.

The editors provide a detailed overview of the historical significance, scientific classification, shamanic and cosmological associations, and changing social meanings of ritual wind instruments within Amazonian cultures. These essays present a wide perspective that goes beyond better-documented areas such as the Upper Xingu and northwest Amazon. Some of the authors explore the ways ritual wind instruments are used to introduce natural sounds into social contexts and to cross boundaries between verbal and nonverbal communication. Others look at how ritual wind instruments and their music enter into local definitions and negotiations of relations between men, women, kin, insiders, and outsiders.

Closely considering these instruments in their many roles and contexts—in curing and purification, negotiating relations, connecting mythic ancestors and humans today—this volume reveals the power and complexity of the music at the heart of collective rituals across lowland South America.

Jonathan D. Hill is a professor of anthropology at Southern Illinois University. He is the editor or author of several books, including Made-from-Bone: Trickster Myths, Music, and History from the Amazon. Jean-Pierre Chaumeil is a senior researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France). He is the author or editor of several books in Spanish and French.

"This well-conceived and very well executed volume marks a major advance in discussions of the significance of aerophones and sound over a large area of South America."—Anthony Seeger, Journal of Anthropological Research

Publication of this volume was assisted by a grant from the Centre d'Enseignement et de Recherche en Ethnologie Amérindienne (EREA), Laboratoire d'Ethnologie et Sociologie Comparative, at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Université de Paris X.

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