richard price & sally price

University of Chicago Press, 1991

Kandamma, one of the greatest tale-tellers

Doote, an avid listener

Two Evenings in Saramaka

by Richard Price and Sally Price
with musical transcriptions by Kenneth M. Bilby

Saramaka chief's funeral, 1989

In this innovative work, Richard and Sally Price explore the world of "folktale land," where animals speak, the social order is inverted, customs have been only partially worked out, and the weak and clever triumph over the strong and arrogant. Joining Saramakas in the South American rain forest for two tale-telling wakes, we witness mischievous Anasi the Spider matching wits with lecherous devils, the scrawny little kid rescuing his nubile sisters in distress, and the bitchy white princess being tamed by the one-sided boy. As seas dry up, books speak out loud, and elephants assume human form, we are present at a wholesequence of world-shaping happenings such as the invention of sex, the discovery of drums,and the arrival of death among humans.

Set in the more general context of tale telling by the descendants of Africans throughout the Americas and of recent scholarship in performance studies, these Saramaka tales are presented as a dramatic script. With the help of nearly forty photographs, readers become familiar not only with the characters in folktale land, but also with the men and women who so imaginatively bring them to life. And because music complements narration in Saramaka just as it does elsewhere in Afro-America, more than fifty songs are presented here in musical notation. Narrative, song, dance, and social interaction merge in these two evenings of multimedia entertainment, bearing witness to an Afro-American cultural tradition that remains alive and vibrant, constantly renewed but always reflecting its links with the past.

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Winner of the 2012 Best Book Award of the American Political Science Association in the field of Human Rights and the 2012 Senior Book Prize of the American Ethnological Society. "An extraordinary work, actively written and exceptionally thought-provoking, Rainforest Warriors will be a classic." Donald Brenneis, UCSanta Cruz
Winner of the 2008 Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing, the 2009 Gordon K. and Sybil Lewis Memorial Award for Caribbean Scholarship, and the 2009 Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion. . . . "An astonishing performance ... as lucid and cordial as the best contemporary fiction.”--George Lamming
"A delicious combination of art, anthropology, and politics"--Lucy R. Lippard
A lavishly-illustrated art book
A French-language original, printed in full color.
"A tour-de-force ... a true marriage of anthropology and art history." --Fred Myers, New York University
"A witty, but scholarly, indictment of the whole primitive art business." --Newsweek
"A superb calaloo of a book ... that explores the underlying insanity of the colonial experience." --George Lamming
"A true gem... The promise of literary ethnography is fulfilled: to educate and, just as a lark, to entertain." --African Arts
"Sensitive and honest, First-Time is required reading for all who seek to learn something new through first-hand, long-term research with non-western intellectuals" --Ethnohistory
"A splendid effort to recover the past." --New York Review of Books
"A splendid anthology, skillfully edited and introduced." --Eugene D. Genovese
"An innovative analysis of the creativity of African-Americans under the extreme constraints of slavery." --Rebecca Scott
"Conceived with sophistication but presented with simplicity and clarity" --Choice
"A brilliantly crafted experiment in postmodern narration --J. Jorge Klor de Alva, president, University of Phoenix
As seas dry up, books speak out loud, and elephants assume human form, we are present at a whole sequence of world-shaping happenings such as the invention of sex, the discovery of drums,and the arrival of death among humans.
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