The Newsletter 66 Winter 2013

Tides of tagunggu. Of Sama Dilaut lifeworlds, gongs, and plastic bottles

Birgit Abels

The so-called gong-chime belt of Southeast Asia is home to a great cultural diversity. Different cultural groups, sometimes occupying borderland areas and stretching over several sides of today’s national borders, are connected with one another across this territory through their practice of different, yet recognizably related, styles of gong playing. Attempts to relate to one another musically, and how gong ensemble repertoire is a favored means to do so, can be observed on the occasion of the many cultural festivals held recurrently in the region. Here, cultural groups musically situate themselves in the larger region while at the same time emphasizing their usually localized musical uniqueness in order to firmly affirm their place within their wider cultural context.


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