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Recollecting from the Past
Musical Practice and Spirit Possession on the East Coast of Madagascar
Ron Emoff



Music/Culture

Wesleyan
2002 • 262 pp. 19 illus. 6 x 9"
Music / African Studies / Cultural Studies / Anthropology

$24.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6500-6



Studies interconnections between sound production, spirit possession, colonialism and ceremonial remembering in Madagascar.

The first serious ethnomusicological study of Malagasy music, Recollecting from the Past evokes the complex sound and performative aesthetic in Madagascar called maresaka. Maresaka pertains not only to musical expression but extends into ways of remembering the past, aesthetics of everyday life, and Malagasy concepts of self and community.

Ron Emoff focuses on tromba spirit possession ceremonies in which Malagasy use devotional practice as an occasion to expressively re-figure worlds often impeded by colonialism and postcolonial phenomena, extreme material poverty, and widespread illness. Malagasy not only preserve the past, but they interpret, revalue and transform it to their own ends. Music is crucial to these performances since powerful ancestral spirits will not enter into the present if not enticed by masterful musical performances, and so music itself provides a complex symbolic system with which Malagasy can recall and reconstruct the past. This groundbreaking study will be of interest to readers in the fields of anthropology, ethnomusicology, cultural studies, African studies, postcolonial and performance studies.

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Reviews / Endorsements

"Ron Emoff's work joins critical and cultural theory to a deep knowledge of Malagasy musical practice. Recollecting from the Past reveals the formidable complexities of a musical history, indeed, reveals quite distinctly how music powerfully embodies that history."—Steve Feld, Professor of Anthropology, New York University

"Ron Emoff has written a lively and provocative account of music and spirit possession on the east coast of Madagascar. It is also the first serious ethnomusicological study of Malagasy music. By focusing on music, he brings a new and unique perspective to bear on familiar Malagasy topics."—Jennifer Cole, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Harvard University



Ron Emoff is Assistant Professor of Music at Ohio State University-Newark. He received the PhD in Ethnomusicology from the University of Texas at Austin. Thereafter he taught as a Lecturer at University of Texas, University of California (Santa Barbara), and was awarded a year-long Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship for the preparation of this book



Sun, 19 Mar 2017 18:58:31 -0500