Singing and survival : the music of Easter Island /

Publication Type:



New York, NY : Oxford University Press, United States; United Kingdom, p.xxii, 195 pages : (2019)



Call Number:



Easter Island, History and criticism., Music, Rapanui (Easter Island people), Social life and customs.


Includes bibliographical references and index.Introduction -- Singing and survival -- Religion and renewal -- Chilean culture -- Polynesian pathways -- Commercial connections -- Conclusion : Rapanui music futures -- Epilogue.An exemplary investigation into music and sustainability, Singing and Survival tells the story of how music helped the Rapanui people of Easter Island to preserve their unique cultural heritage. Easter Island (or Rapanui), known for the iconic headstones (moai) that dot the island landscape, has a remarkable and enduring presence in global popular culture where it has been portrayed as a place of mystery and fascination, and as a case study in societal collapse. These portrayals often overlook the remarkable survival of the Rapanui people who rebounded from a critically diminished population of just 110 people in the late nineteenth century to what is now a vibrant community where indigenous language and cultural practices have been preserved for future generations. This cultural revival has drawn on a diversity of historical and contemporary influences: indigenous heritage, colonial and missionary influences from South America, and cultural imports from other Polynesian islands, as well as from tourism and global popular culture. The impact of these influences can be perceived in the island's contemporary music culture. This book provides a comprehensive overview of Easter Island music, with individual chapters devoted to the various streams of cultural influence from which the Rapanui people have drawn to rebuild and reinforce their music, their performances, their language and their presence in the world. In doing so, it provides a counterpoint to deficit discourses of collapse, destruction and disappearance to which the Rapanui people have historically been subjected.