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Grauer draws on genetic, archaeological, and other evidence to make a compelling case that the music of living Bushmen and Pygmy groups is close to the music our ancestors made thousands of years ago and that elements of this music are present in musics all over the world. He also offers an explanation for why, about 70K years ago, a new style of music arose in South Asia.
The reason for reading him, though is not that he is “right”—in the end, who knows? and he himself is quite careful to indicate pros and cons of his readings of evidence—but that what he offers deserves the attention of anyone curious about the origins of music and, indeed of anyone interested in what it is to be human. His thesis about the group of humans who left Africa to populate the planet addresses not just musical practices, but social organization.
Grauer has made music and music making more interesting to me and helped me look at the human world in a new way. I'm listening to and reading about Bushmen and Pygmies and feel grateful to them for the heritage they’ve preserved and to Grauer for pointing me to them.
B) Could you enjoy engaging in a dialog with another interesting and respectful mind?
C) Could you connect with a new paradigm about what are we homo saps?
If yes, to any of the above, please, check out Sounding the Depths - tradition and the voices of history by Victor Grauer in either, its blog: Sounding the Depths A Blog Book, by Victor Grauer.....for Alan Lomax
or order the physical book from amazon.com. I heartily recommend both.
Sounding the Depths is unique. It has numerous links to intriguing photographs; even more video links that will ignite the sparklers in your mind; and numerous sound links that will expand your soul.
The "fun" that Dr. Grauer could share with You begins with his sensitivity to the music of the African "Bushman" and Pygmy. His deep recognition of their complex and rich singing has been preceded by other Westerners that he gives full credit -- principally the nearly mythological anthropologist Colin Turnbull (The Forest People, etc.) and multidimensional Alan Lomax (Unfamiliar with Lomax and his father? You could start with Wikipedia.). Further, Grauer confirms the legitimacy of Your pleasure hearing the recordings of the Eastern and the Western Pygmy and the "Bushman" of Kalahari by introducing you to the pioneering Gilbert Rouge and Simp Aroma. Both the Frenchman and the Israeli can take you further into the commonly shared "deep cultural heritage" of those singers separated by thousand of miles of forest, desert with one another. And if you follow Grauer's thinking, you learn of that commonality we share in spite of the thousands of miles of mountains and oceans that put us apart, no matter where you live.
Grauer's own thoughts are both deep and risky. With supreme diversity, he supports his opinions with the latest in genetic science; the previously mentioned of .jpg and .mp3; his vast scope of reading material; his own special blend of whimsey and his own previous and extensive research. He is always respectful to both the reader and the opposing argument to the extent that I hold Sounding the Depths as a standard to how one can effectively write about complex issues, when the author wants a relationship with an audience beyond an ingrown elite.
So, I strongly urge you to take hold of Sounding the Depths. You may never experience a song or a book as you had, ever again. You may even finish your first reading of Sounding the Depths and look into the mirror with greater awe and walk with strangers on the pavement with a kinder sense of kinship.
Are you still reading this review and not hooking up to the real adventure? (See my first paragraph, please.)
Are you not ordering a copy from amazon.com ?
Maybe you need to use your ears. Why not try one or two of Grauer's first audio links. Nothing to buy, gratis.
(Try anything by going to his last two paragraphs of his August 15, 2011 entry)
Still here? Well,
I will give you it to straight from his Introduction.
The basic argument can be summarized as follows:
"1. the Pygmies and Busmen of Africa, now recognized by population geneticists as carriers of the most ancient lineages in the world, share a remarkable musical language, despite many thousands of miles of separation in completely different regions of Africa, with totally different environments -- strongly suggesting that this musical practice is a survival from the time the geneticists tell us the two populations most likely diverged, tens of thousands of years ago.
2. thus, astonishing as it might sound, by listening to a recording of traditional Pygmy or Busmen music, we are, in a sense, entering a kind of time warp, hearing the sort of sounds our African ancestors may well have been making anywhere from 70,000 to over 100,000 years ago.
3. and if their shared musical traditions, like their genetic "clades," have a common root, deeply buried in the heart of the Paleolithic era, then it's possible to infer that other traditions shared by both groups might also be survivals of cultural practices inherited from the same ancestral population.
The logic outlined above enables us to go beyond the realms of music and genetics to postulate a hypothetical baseline representing the culture of this ancestral population, from which, in theory at least, all subsequent cultures are derived. On this basis, drawing upon a wide array of evidence, the book takes the reader on a journey through some of the deepest recesses of human history, suggesting solutions to mysteries that, until recently, were thought to be completely beyond the reach of systematic investigation."
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Thanks for reading my review. Chapter Seventeen is a stand-alone. I have read it several times as it is a benevolent finger pointing to an awe-inspiring possibility.
Sounding the Depths: Tradition and the Voices of History