Dr Celine Coderey, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
In this book presentation, Birgit Abels introduces her recent monograph Music Worlding in Palau: Chanting, Atmospheres, and Meaningfulness, a detailed study of the performing arts in Palau, Micronesia. She explores the Palauan performing arts as holistic techniques enabling the experiential corporeality of music’s meaningfulness – that distinctly musical way of making sense of the world with which the felt body immediately resonates but which, to a significant extent, escapes interpretive techniques. Drawing on long-term ethnographic research, Music Worlding in Palau distinguishes between meaning(s) and meaningfulness in Palauan music-making. The book proposes a broader understanding of how the performing arts give rise to a sense of meaningfulness whose felt-bodily affectivity is pivotal to music-making and lived realities. With Music Worlding in Palau, Abels thus seeks to draw the reader closer to the holistic complexity of music-making both in Palau and more generally.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Birgit Abels is Professor of Cultural Musicology at Georg-August-University Göttingen (Germany). Her research interests include neo-phenomenological and Pacific indigenous approaches to the performing arts as well as music-making as an epistemological practice. The geographic foci of her research are the Pacific Ocean (particularly Micronesia), North India, and the Southeast Asian Island world. Her books include Sounds of Articulating Identity. Tradition and Transition in the Music of Palau, Micronesia (2008), which was recognized with the ICAS Book Prize (PhD) 2009, The Harmonium in North Indian Music (2010), and Music Worlding in Palau: Chanting, Atmospheres, and Meaningfulness (2022). She is the Principal Investigator of the ERC Consolidator project titled Sound Knowledge: Alternative Epistemologies of Music in the Western Pacific Island World.
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