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New England Fiddles & New England Dances
Since colonial times, the fiddle has enjoyed a primary place in American traditional music. Playing the fiddle is both intensely personal and an expression of cultural aesthetics. The fiddler provides the spirit and music for dances which are important elements for community cohesion. New England styles and tunes originate in…
The Feast-Day of Tamar and Lashari
The Pshavi people of the eastern mountains of the Republic of Georgia perform a ritual which can be characterized as a syncretism of ancient polytheistic beliefs and Orthodox Christian faith, but which is qualified by city habitants of Tbilisi as "pagan". The ritual of Tamar and Lashari celebrates queen Tamar…
Funeral Chants from the Georgian Caucasus
The villages of the Svaneti province are located in north-western Georgia, in the valleys that lie between the mountains of the Caucasus. The Svans represent about 1% of the Georgian population. Their language differs from the Georgian language, and their religion is a syncretism of Orthodox Christian faith and pre-Christian…
Treasure of the Lisu
Treasure of the Lisu takes us into the world of Ah-Cheng, a master musician and tradition bearer of the Lisu minority people in southwest China. Originating in eastern Tibet, the Lisu people now live among the mountainous Nu (Salween) River canyon, an area caught between the ancient and the modern…
Are'are Music
A fascinating documentation of the traditional musical culture of the 'Are'are people of the Solomon Islands, in the South-Western Pacific. The three LP records published after a first one-year field-research in 1969-70 were a "phenomenal surprise" (Garfias) as they revealed a completely unknown music (outside of the Solomon Islands) of…
A Swiss Yodelling Series: "Jüüzli" of the Muotatal
These four films present a variant of an alpine singing type characterized by the swift alternation from chest voice to head voice, known since the nineteenth century under the German name of "yodel." In the Swiss German dialect of the Muotatal, a small valley in the Pre-Alps of central Switzerland,…
Shaping Bamboo
For the 'Are'are people of the Solomon Islands, the most valued music is that of the four types of panpipe ensembles. With the exception of slit drums, all musical instruments are made of bamboo; therefore the general word for instruments and the music performed with them is "bamboo" ('au). This…
Duduki of Tbilisi: Eldar Shoshitashvili and His Students
While the rural polyphonic songs of Georgia (Caucasus) are internationally appreciated and have become a national symbol, the urban instrumental music of the eastern part of the country is less well known. The Georgian duduki, a double-reed wind instrument of the oboe family, is known by different names in neighboring…
A Sigh And A Wish: Helen Creighton's Maritimes
Renowned folklorist Helen Creighton single-handedly compiled North America's largest collection of folklore and music, much of which would have disappeared forever if not for her tenacity, collecting stories and songs from the Gaelic singers of Cape Breton, French Acadians, the Mi'kmaw, and the Black communities of Nova Scotia. Her name…
Haitian Song
Haitian Song is a lyrical portrait of life in a small village in rural Haiti. The film focuses on the "rituals" which compose the texture of everyday life: getting water from the river; making rope by hand from sisal; cooking rice and beans in an outdoor kitchen; planting and harvesting.…
Dances of Ecstasy
Dances of Ecstacy is a sensory journey into the mesmerizing world of trance and ecstasy that binds dancers from Manhattan to Morocco. Filmmakers Michelle Mahrer and Nicole Ma travelled to traditional and modern day rituals to discover what is the altered state experience which people seek through dance. Dances of…
Namekas: Music in Lake Chambri
On the southern shores of Lake Chambri (Middle Sepik River) live 1500 Pondo-speaking villagers. The Chambris trade fish, mosquito nets and baskets for sago, pottery, and other goods. All elements of the natural world are associated with spirits which have individual personalities and powers, characterized in legend, art, and music.…