Like many other South American Indian communities, the Suyá Indians of Mato Grosso, Brazil, devote a great deal of time and energy to making music, especially singing. In paperback for the first time, Anthony Seeger’s Why Suyá Sing considers the reasons for the importance of music for the Suyá–and by extension for other groups– through an examination of myth telling, speech making, and singing in the initiation ceremony. Based on over twenty-four months of field research and years of musical exchange, Seeger analyzes the different verbal arts and then focuses on details of musical performance. He reveals how Suyá singing creates euphoria out of silence, a village community out of a collection of houses, a socialized adult out of a boy, and contributes to the formation of ideas about time, space, and social identity. Anthony shares a slide presentation including audio and video footage of the Suya engaged in the ritual of music.
Anthony Seeger is an anthropologist, ethnomusicologist, archivist and record producer. He is the director emeritus of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and distinguished professor emeritus of ethnomusicology at UCLA.