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Jonathan D. Hill

Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: Jonathan D. Hill is a professor in the Department of Anthropology at Southern Illinois University and the author of Keepers of the Sacred Chants: The Poetics of Ritual Power in an Amazonian Society.



Primary Literary Genre(s): Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers

Jonathan D. Hill on WorldCat :

Selected Titles

Keepers of the sacred chants :
ISBN: 0816511357 OCLC: 28337550

University of Arizona Press, Tucson : ©1993.

The Wakuenai of the upper Rio Negro region in southern Venezuela a form of singing called malikai for ceremonies of childbirth, initiation, and healing. This ritual chanting, a rich amalgam of myth and music, serves as a means of integrating individuals into a vertical hierarchy of powers relations between mythic ancestors and human descendants. In Keepers of the Sacred Chants, Jonathan Hill shows how the musical and semantic transformations of everyday discourse in malikai integrate the everyday world into a poetic process of empowerment. He interprets malikai through mythic narratives that explain the cosmos as an ongoing process of musically naming-into-being the species, objects, and activities that define individual humanness and society, and he further shows how semantic and musical meanings are joined to construct each chant and how these chants are manipulated in different contexts. Hill explains how the musical elements of malikai contribute to the success of performance, comparing different genres for which different musical criteria are appropriate. He considers the integration of speech and song through a close analysis of such elements as microtonal pitch rise, rhythm, and timbre, showing how these features are linked to poetic speech and imbued with social power. Hill's penetrating study of malikai is made within the context of Wakuenai history and cosmology and considers influences resulting from contact with the outside world. Because Northern Arawakan-speaking peoples have received less attention than others of the region, his book thus makes a significant contribution to Amazonian ethnography. It is the author's focus on malikai, however, that commends keepers of the Sacred Chants to all interested in the multitextured uses of song and story by peoples of the world.

Made-from-bone :
ISBN: 0252033736 OCLC: 811409127

University of Illinois Press, Urbana : ©2009.

Recorded and transcribed by Jonathan Hill, this is a collection of mythic narratives from the indigenous Wakuénai of southernmost Venezuela. The central character throughout the tales is a trickster-creator, Made-from-Bone, who survives a prolonged series of life-threatening attacks.