Music, Sound, and Documentary Film in the Global South, edited by Christopher L. Ballengee, represents an important step toward thinking about the production and analysis of the soundscapes of documentary film, all while exploring a range of social, cultural, technological, and theoretical questions relevant to current trends in Global South studies. Written by a diverse set of authors, including filmmakers, academics, and cultural critics, the ten essays in this book provide fresh evaluations of the place of music and sound in documentary films outside the European-American milieu. On the whole, the authors illuminate how the invention of documentary film was at first a product of the colonialist project. Yet over time, access to filmmaking technologies led to the creation of documentary films relevant for local communities and national identities. In this sense, documentary film in the Global South might be broadly defined as a mode of personally or politically mediated storytelling that, by one route or another, has become a useful and recognizable means of memorializing traumatic histories and critiquing everyday lived experience. As the essays in this volume attest, close readings of documentary soundscapes provide fresh perspectives on ways of hearing and ways of being heard in the Global South.
Christopher L. Ballengee is an ethnomusicologist based in Poland, where he works as an academic editor and English teacher. He is director of the feature-length documentary film Sweet Tassa: Music of the Indian Caribbean Diaspora (2019) and author of numerous articles on music in Trinidad and Tobago.
Cover image: Richard Williams
Introduction: Being Heard: Music, Sound, and Documentary Film in the Global South
Christopher L. Ballengee
Chapter 1. Helping a Nation to Know Itself: Postcolonial Identity and Sonic Horizons at Films Division India, 1950–1975
Chapter 2. Invisible Architecture, Radical Ethnography: Juan Downey and the Sound of Laughter
Michael Newell Witte
Chapter 3. Drum Making as a Way of Life in South-Central Uganda: A Filmic Approach
Chapter 4. Narrating a Revolutionary Life through Song: Personal, Political, and Musical Choices in Making Singing a Great Dream
Anna Stirr and Bhakta Syangtan
Chapter 5. Beyond the Visual: The Use of Sound in Tales from Our Childhood
Rajesh James and Malavika Pillai
Chapter 6. Lodes of Metal: The Texture and Sound of Memory in Latin American Heavy Metal Documentaries
Daniel Nevárez Araújo and Nelson Varas-Díaz
Chapter 7. Framing the Future: The Take, Nine Queens, and Argentina’s Neoliberal Soundscapes
Yovanna Pineda and Lucas Izquierdo
Chapter 8. Under the Amazon Sun: Musical Composition, Filmic Form, and Encounters of History and the Everyday in Antonio Wong Rengifo’s Chronotopias of the Peruvian Amazon
Chapter 9. Aural Identities: Auditive Representations of Ethnicity in Documentary Film
Chapter 10. Only Connect: Two Trinidads, Two Documentaries
About the Contributors
"The essays in this edited volume explore several intersecting terrains associated with the current renaissance of documentary filmmaking occurring globally. They highlight the significance of music and soundscapes in documentary film, showcase the testimonies and interpretations of filmmakers themselves about their art and craft, and focus on a range of issues relevant to current trends in Global South studies. This work is thus a much-needed and welcome addition to documentary film scholarship in the twenty-first century."