Everyday Musical Life among the Indigenous Bunun, Taiwan
Everyday Musical Life among the Indigenous Bunun, Taiwan contributes to multidisciplinary research on music in everyday human life by pushing beyond the urbanized Western populations routinely featured in such writing. Based on ethnographic study in Buklavu, a village in southern Taiwan mostly inhabited by the indigenous Bunun, the book explores villagers’ contemporaneous musical engagements and pathways, paying heed both to imported music—such as TV theme tunes, karaoke singing, church hymns—and to the transformation of Bunun traditions through school and community interventions and folkloric festivals. The case study underpins a new, widely applicable, theoretical model for the study of music in everyday life in global society which is historically engaged, sensitive to individual and group diversity, cognizant of the interplay of the mundane and the exceptional, and primed to support applied research.
This everyday portrait of music in Bunun society is a significant contribution to the conversation about the reframing of "traditional/contemporary" binary in music studies. The book’s multifaceted, localized and dialogic approach unsettles conventional musical representation of Bunun society. The topics range across genres, generations, spaces and identities, as well as agency, embodiment and materiality to produce insightful music reflection of one of Taiwan’s most prominent indigenous communities. Meanwhile, nuanced analyses of music embodiment, vocality, and temporality shed new light on discussions about these important topics.
Nancy Yunhwa Rao, Rutgers University, author of Chinatown Opera Theater in North America