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The Varieties of Sonic Experience: "Quiet" vs. "Not-Noise" in a Ghanaian Harvest Festival

Title data

Goshadze, Mariam:
The Varieties of Sonic Experience: "Quiet" vs. "Not-Noise" in a Ghanaian Harvest Festival.
In: American Anthropologist. Vol. 124 (2022) Issue 1 . - pp. 165-174.
ISSN 0002-7294
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/aman.13689

Official URL: Volltext

Abstract in another language

Sacred calm engulfs Ghana's town of Nungua every year as the Ga people prepare to celebrate Kplejoo, their annual harvest festival. To honor the presence of deities at this time, the Ga ritual specialists introduce a week-long restriction on drumming and noise-making. The ritual quiet that descends over Nungua defies the conventional categorization of “quietness” as a sonically neutral category. In this context, “quietness” does not translate to the elimination of high frequencies of sound, but rather stands for the perfect sonic habitat for the visiting deities, whose aural sensibilities cannot be subsumed under the “worldly” sonic categories. The article adopts a cross-world acoustemological approach to explore the sonically packed content of “quietness” or “not-noise” in the ritual space of Nungua, placing a special emphasis on ritual songs that are not considered “noisy.” Since the appreciation of “not-noise” is possible only once the deities are introduced into the picture, the work also calls for an increased focus on cross-world sensory transmissions as an important methodological step in the anthropological study of the senses.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: silence; festival; sound; anthropology of sound; Ghana
Institutions of the University: Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Cultural Studies
Faculties > Faculty of Cultural Studies > Professor Study of Religion with an emphasis on Africa
Faculties > Faculty of Cultural Studies > Professor Study of Religion with an emphasis on Africa > Professor Study of Religion with an emphasis on Africa - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Eva Spies
Result of work at the UBT: No
DDC Subjects: 200 Religion
200 Religion > 200 Religion
200 Religion > 290 Other religions
Date Deposited: 18 May 2022 07:38
Last Modified: 18 May 2022 07:38
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/67337