Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Saur January 29, 2019

Dialogues with the Archives: Arrarrkpi Responses to Recordings as Part of the Living Song Tradition of Manyardi

Reuben Brown, David Manmurulu, Jenny Manmurulu and Isabel O’Keeffe

Abstract

This article explores the role of legacy recordings of song for a family of Arrarrkpi (Mawng-speaking people), who are contemporary singers and dancers of manyardi, a public ceremonial performance of western Arnhem Land, in their collaborative work with a team of Balanda (Euro-diasporic) researchers. Drawing inspiration from the dialogical approach of the Yolŋu ceremonial leader and scholar Joe Gumbula, the article reflects on various dialogues that inform the research, practice and archival recording of manyardi. We demonstrate how legacy recordings reinvigorate contemporary performance practice in collective settings, rather than serving as canonical or ideal versions of song sets to be replicated by an individual singer. We suggest that maintaining the linking and organisation of enriched song metadata from this community to the archival collection will enable future song inheritors to maintain dialogues with archives that hold recordings of manyardi.

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung people of the Kulin nations, the Gadigal and Guringai of the Eora nations and Mawng, as the traditional owners of the lands on which we work, and their ancestors past, present and future. Thanks to Rupert and Renfred Manmurulu, and to Ruth Singer for their valuable contributions to this article.

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Published Online: 2019-01-29
Published in Print: 2018-12-19

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