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Impey, Angela (2015) '“Song of Akuac”: Audio-letters from South Sudan: Tracing Dinka Networks, Connections, and Intimacies beyond the war zone.' In: Harris, Rachel and Pease, Rowan, (eds.), Pieces of the Musical World. Sounds and Culture. New York and London: Routledge, pp. 195-207.

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This chapter explores the practice of song-making and sharing in the culture of the Dinka people of South Sudan. It focuses in particular on the global circulation of songs in the form of cassette audio-letters which pass between South Sudan and the global Dinka diaspora. This phenomenon of personal song-making has its roots in a culture of transhumant pastoralism. However, against the recent historical background of civil war and the forced migration of many millions from their homes, this tradition has been repackaged to accommodate extended geographies and to address a multitude of new concerns. Cassette audio-letters infuse old song structures with new concerns. They are also progressively replacing face-to-face interaction and live performance as ways of communicating and mediating private information. In this way, they have enabled clan groups who are scattered across the globe to retain intimate connections with one another and with their cultural identities. The chapter concludes with a reflection on the “affiliative” power of the cassette tape itself, suggesting that the object has become inextricably implicated in the complexity of networks, connections, and intimacies of this contemporary global cultural practice.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of Music
ISBN: 9780415723114
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2018 08:39

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