Where Rivers and Mountains Sing: Sound, Music, and Nomadism in Tuva and Beyond

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9780253223296: Where Rivers and Mountains Sing: Sound, Music, and Nomadism in Tuva and Beyond

Theodore Levin takes readers on a journey through the rich sonic world of inner Asia, where the elemental energies of wind, water, and echo; the ubiquitous presence of birds and animals; and the legendary feats of heroes have inspired a remarkable art and technology of sound-making among nomadic pastoralists. As performers from Tuva and other parts of inner Asia have responded to the growing worldwide popularity of their music, Levin follows them to the West, detailing their efforts to nourish global connections while preserving the power and poignancy of their music traditions.

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From the Publisher:

Where Rivers and Mountains Sing is the account of a journey through the rich sonic world of Inner Asia, where the elemental energies of wind, water, and echo, the ubiquitous presence of birds and animals, and the legendary feats of heroes have inspired a remarkable art and technology of sound-making among nomadic pastoralists. Colllaborating with Tuvan ethnographer and folklorist Valentina Süzükei, Theodore Levin explores the spectacular "throat-singing" of Tuvan and Mongolian herders, the spirit-summoning seances of shamans and dream-inspired rhapsodies of oral epic reciters, and the affecting virtuosity of fiddle and lute players whose instruments narrate stories and legends without words. Like the Australian Aboriginals and their much-celebrated "songlines," Inner Asian pastoralists traditionally evoked detailed images of landscape through singing, and sound and music form part of a spiritual relationship with the natural environment that has endured in the face of formidable social and political challenges. As performers from Tuva and other parts of Inner Asia have responded to the growing worldwide popularity of their music, Theodore Levin follows them to the West, and describes their soul-searching efforts to nourish global connections while preserving the power and poignancy of music rooted in an authentic tradition. The book is accompanied by a DVD and CD that illustrate the music and musicians discussed in the text.

From the Back Cover:

"Thanks to his wonderful innate taste, his tremendous linguistic skills, and his curiosity and passion to share what he discovers, Ted Levin has given us a window into a world of traditional music we might never otherwise know." —Yo-Yo Ma

"Ted Levin gives us a vivid picture of music in inner Asia today—both the ancient traditions and the way they’re rubbing up against the modern world. . . . After reading this immensely readable and thought-provoking book, you’ll never listen to throat singing in the same way again." —Simon Broughton, editor, Songlines and Rough Guide to World Music

"No other writer could extract such a delicate mélange of philosophy, acoustics, and aesthetics from one man’s vocalization over a running stream—or report with such canny insight on how that individual must negotiate his life as a ‘star’ in the West." —Michael Church, BBC World Service

"Entertaining, fascinating, and well written, it depicts important issues in the globalization of indigenous music." —Marjorie Mandelstam Balzer, author of The Tenacity of Ethnicity

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