The authors' variety of experience and qualifications allow this welcome and timely book to investigate broadly what the act of singing tries to express and achieve, what cultural, emotional and psychological effects it has on performers and audiences, and how those beneficial effects might be translated into social policy. This study of what singing is and does and can do is a valuable addition to any university music or ethnomusicology programme.
Island Songs takes the reader on a musical journey across the seas to discover the rich and complex connections between songs, singing and island cultures. Bringing together a diverse range of case studies from Ibiza to Fiji, Sicily to Newfoundland, the edited book explores the ways Islander singers negotiate the local and the global, traditional and contemporary, and identity and place through song. It provides a significant and exciting contribution to understanding the power of song in Islander communities across the world.
There is benefit to approaching the world’s island cultures in comparative perspective; not because they are natural laboratories but for precisely the opposite reason; they are hubs in flows of ideas and practices. This compendium designed to 'advance interdisciplinary research in singing' bears out the fruits of such comparison. Godfrey Baldacchino and colleagues explore the roles of singing in revealing and performing (island) cultures. Analyses and interpretations convey transformative dynamics of island peoples, voices raised in song. Authors point to coded secrets, political critique and social justice, to subtle palimpsests of history, deeply rooted in place yet adapting to tension, hybridity and mobility, to songs saturated with identity and the spirit to reaffirm community. They debunk romantic island imagery introducing rich countercurrents in song and emphasizing both local meanings and stylistic fusion. This work bears reading and rereading. Dissemination within the academy and beyond to schools, choirs, performers, elders, patients and their therapists promises significant impact.