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Music as Literacy: some references for those who are interested

OliviaC's picture

Bayaka harpJust to follow up on some of the posts here and on Twitter about music as a form of literacy... here are some references that might be of interest to anyone who plans to write on this topic in future.

If you missed my Tweet this weekend, I posted a link to an All Things Considered interview with the director of a new independent film featuring the music of the Bayaka pygmies:

The film, Oka!, is a fictionalized account of ethnomusicologist Louis Sarno's experience living with the Bayaka, who create music ingeniously from all sorts of objects. Certainly we should be wary of the film's old familiar theme: " from economically developed, formerly known as civilized world, goes off to live and find meaning in traditional, formerly known as primitive society...", as well as the idea that any society is more "ancient" or "pristine" than any other... but, still the film looks interesting or at least fun and the library will acquire it when it comes out on DVD.  Here's a link to the trailer:

Of course, a better way to get a sense of Sarno's experience and the issues involved would be to take a look at his ethnography from 1993:  Song from the Forest - My Life Among the Ba-Benjelle Pygmies, which is available here at Canaday:

Two more sources I found in the TriCo (there are copies of both available at Haverford and Swarthmore) concern a related topic -- "hip-hop literacy":

Hiphop Literacies (2006)

Gettin' Our Groove On: rhetoric, language and literacy for the hip-hop generation (2005)

Check the bibliographies of these books for related journal articles and the names of researchers who have published most frequently on these topics.  A search of ERIC ( for:  ((Thesaurus Descriptors:literac*) and (Thesaurus Descriptors:music)) also yields a lot of more recent article citations.