Healing Feasting and Magical Ritual: Papua New Guinea
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Healing Feasting and Magical Ritual: Papua New Guinea (Topic Records)

Recordings, text & photographs by John Thornley
Songs and dances of hunting, war, work, totemistic ritual, cannibalism, myth, initiation, courtship, rain-making, funerals, magical healing, shark catching and marathon feasting, recorded in remote coastal and inland villages in five far-flung regions of Papua New Guinea, to the north of Australia. One of the world's most mysterious countries, whose long, wide rivers are home to hundreds of different Melanesian cultures and languages. These full-throated songs with their vibrant and often complex accompanimental drumming patterns show the richness and variety of the cultural traditions and beliefs of the communities of Papua New Guinea.

" intense microtonal harmonies that are really arresting" - Sing Out

This release in the Topic World Series has been produced in conjunction with the International Music Collection of the British Library National Sound Archive. Started in 1955, The British Library National Sound Archive is one of the largest in the world and now holds over a million discs, 175,000 tapes and many other sound and video recordings.

The International Music Collection of the NSA holds recordings of traditional, folk and world music. Its aim is to collect, preserve and make accessible a comprehensive collection of music from all over the world. It covers thousands of styles and genres, both traditional and modern, from hundreds of countries.

International music has been a core collecting area for the NSA since its establishment and today the section is one of the largest and most wide-ranging in the world. One of the aims of the NSA is the wide dissemination of the music and information in its collections and the series of CDs produced in collaboration with Topic Records is a significant undertaking. For the most part the recordings are drawn from holdings of unpublished, unique field recordings, but they may also include reissues of 78rpm discs and LPs.

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