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Hungry Listening

Resonant Theory for Indigenous Sound Studies

2020
Author:

Dylan Robinson

Hungry Listening

Reimagining how we understand and write about the Indigenous listening experience


Hungry Listening is the first book to consider listening from both Indigenous and settler colonial perspectives, presenting case studies on Indigenous participation in classical music, musicals, and popular music. A critical response to what has been called the “whiteness of sound studies,” Dylan Robinson evaluates how decolonial practices of listening emerge from increasing awareness of our listening positionality.

Hungry Listening is the first book to consider listening from both Indigenous and settler colonial perspectives. A critical response to what has been called the “whiteness of sound studies,” Dylan Robinson evaluates how decolonial practices of listening emerge from increasing awareness of our listening positionality. This, he argues, involves identifying habits of settler colonial perception and contending with settler colonialism’s “tin ear” that renders silent the epistemic foundations of Indigenous song as history, law, and medicine.

 

With case studies on Indigenous participation in classical music, musicals, and popular music, Hungry Listening examines structures of inclusion that reinforce Western musical values. Alongside this inquiry on the unmarked terms of inclusion in performing arts organizations and compositional practice, Hungry Listeningoffers examples of “doing sovereignty” in Indigenous performance art, museum exhibition, and gatherings that support an Indigenous listening resurgence.

 

Throughout the book, Robinson shows how decolonial and resurgent forms of listening might be affirmed by writing otherwise about musical experience. Through event scores, dialogic improvisation, and forms of poetic response and refusal, he demands a reorientation toward the act of reading as a way of listening. Indigenous relationships to the life of song are here sustained in writing that finds resonance in the intersubjective experience between listener, sound, and space.

Hungry Listening

Dylan Robinson is a xwélméxw (Stó:lō) writer, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts, and associate professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. He is coeditor of Arts of Engagement: Taking Aesthetic Action in and beyond the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and cocurator of Soundings, an internationally touring exhibition of Indigenous art scores.

Hungry Listening

Contents


Introduction


Writing Indigenous Space


1. Hungry Listening


Event Score for Guest Listening I


2. Writing about Musical Intersubjectivity


xwélalà:m, Raven Chacon’s Report


3. Contemporary Encounters Between Indigenous and Early Music


Event Score for Return


4. Ethnographic Redress, Compositional Responsibility


Event Score for Responsibility: “qimmit katajjaq / sqwélqwel tl’ sqwmá:y”


5. Feeling Reconciliation


Event Score to Act


Acknowledgments


Conclusion


Notes


Bibliography


Index