Every region/community of the world has its sahre of oral creativity, in varying measures though. And, accordingly, has its own legacy of 'chanted narratives': epical, hostorical, mythical, romantic, or even ritualistic. Which have long survived in the collective memory of its people, having been handed down from generation to generation. Confronted, however, by the 'cornucopian techno-centrism' of today's life, these oral narratives are on their way out everywhere -- like many other vibrant cultural phenomena.
Highlighting why we need to preserve this intangible heritage of mankind, the volume offers a fascinating study of 'chanted narratives' from different regions of India and parts of Southeast Asia. Essentially a multi-author work, it explores the nature of orality and its various attendent aspects, like composition, performance, transmission modes, socio-economic context, and the relationship that exists between its performer and the audience. Also addressing methodological issues concerning the existing definitions and terminologies, the authors argue for a paradigm shift in the academic discourse on orality and oral cultures.
Carrying twenty four contributors of leading scholars from France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Nepal, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and UK, the book not only provides theoretical insights into the complex nature of orality, but sets out a rich repertoire of chanted narratives as well.
Folklorists, anthropologists, historians and scholars of Indian cultures will find it a useful acquisition.