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The Land Is Sung: Zulu Performances and the Politics of Place

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Ethnography on the politics of land and belonging in post apartheid Zulu performances

What does it mean to belong? In The Land is Sung, musicologist Thomas Pooley shows how performances of song, dance, and praise poetry connect Zulu communities to their ancestral homes and genealogies. For those without land tenure in the province of KwaZulu-Nata, performances articulate a sense of place. Migrants express their allegiances through performance and spiritual relationships to land are embodied in rituals that invoke ancestral connection while advancing well-being through intergenerational communication. Engaging with justice and environmental ethics, education and indigenous knowledge systems, musical and linguistic analysis, and the ethics of recording practice, Pooley's analysis draws on genres of music and dance recorded in the midlands and borderlands of South Africa, and in Johannesburg's inner city. His detailed sound writing captures the visceral experiences of performances in everyday life. The book is richly illustrated and there is a companion website featuring both video and audio examples.

ISBN-13: 9780819500588

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: Wesleyan University Press

Publication Date: 10-17-2023

Pages: 288

Series: Music / Culture

THOMAS POOLEY (Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) is an associate professor of musicology and chair of the department of art and music at the University of South Africa. He is the editor-in-chief of Muziki: Journal of Music Research in Africa.