Saturday, February 2, 2013

Bosavi Rainforest Music

Bosavi Women Lamenting
(after a 1966 photo by Edward Schieffelin)
12" x 12", oil on masonite, 2012
Consider the lives of Papua New Guinea natives living in the Bosavi rainforests for a moment. Just for the sake of reflection you should try to imagine what it would be like to live a life like they do. Imagine not to know any of the things you learned in school, imagine that most everything you do is guided by tradition rather than by reason. What a different life they live compared to that of ours. All of their days turn into music, their most sacred as well as the most profane moments of their lives are accompanied by a song, by humming, or by drumming. Me? I can't even remember the last time I sang a song. I don't even sing in the shower anymore. My most musical moments are when I'm in my car waiting for a traffic light and I tap my fingers on the dashboard to the rhythm of my left turn signal. My most sacred moment? I can't even conceive the meaning of that word anymore, as all days and every moment are profane, mundane, and secular. And yet there they are, in my back yard, a group of six Bosavi women whose weeping in front of a deceased relative turns into the most wonderful of songs. And yet it is music that colors my days...but it's the idea of music rather than the experience of it.

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