Selk'nam (Ona) Chants Of Tierra Del Fuego


aec.fowy4176.2 5/30/12 New

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    Selk'nam (Ona) Chants Of Tierra Del Fuego Smithsonian Records

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Review Text This is a double-album box set consisting of 47 solo chants sung by a woman who was supposedly the last full-blooded Indian of the Selk'nam or Ona people. On a very superficial level, this is the kind of a recording that could be used to weed out the types of listeners who want exotic but easygoing world music and those seeking something much more challenging. The songs were taped in the singer's hut, and were not first takes, as you are informed in the liner notes that each piece was recorded between four and eight times. Between these alternate takes and another 45 chants of initiation rites that were never released there would certainly be material for another set, yet perhaps Folkways feels the audience for this type of collection is too small, even by their standards. The timelessness of Lola Kiepja's voice, the intricacies of the cadence and repetition, and, of course, the texts themselves, studiously translated and explained in the 12-page booklet, are all reasons to probe into this difficult, almost startling music. The importance of this set as a historical document can also not be overstated. Kiepja was apparently her own best critic; she apparently loved listening back to the recordings after they were made, and would comment either "olichen" (lovely) or "yippen" (ugly). Like all great music, hers has plenty of moments both olichen and yippen. ~ Eugene Chadbourne

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