|:: Description ::
||Alan Lomax dictated correspondence and conversation with Pierre Gaisseau about the Cuna Indians of Panama
|:: Project ::
|:: Date Range ::
||06-01-1974 to 12-31-1992
|:: Particpants ::
|:: Subjects ::
|Cuna Indians of Panama - rituals and creation myths|
|Cuna Indians of Panama - panpipes played in male and female pairs; symbolism of long flute|
|Cuna Indians of Panama - dance lessons|
|Pete Seeger - Alan Lomax's correspondence with|
|Folklorists and feedback to the community|
|Violence on television and viewer passivity|
|Kenneth Goldstein's handbook on folklore studies|
|Cuna Indians of Panama - lullabies|
|Cuna Indians of Panama - shamans and clairvoyants|
|Cuna Indians of Panama - love songs|
|Cuna Indians of Panama - music of and Alan Lomax's interest in|
|Edith Trager Johnson - Alan Lomax's letters to|
|:: Cultures ::
|:: Holdings ::
|:: Notes ::
||Correspondence: To undentified correspondent in Ithaca, New York, offering congratulations on receipt of grant. Choreometric system has now been correlated to social variables and Forrestine Paulay is no longer with the project but I can ask her to meet with you. Would like to review material you have in light of new hypotheses.
To Barry (unidentified correspondent), offering advice on how to become a folklorist and recommending book by Kenneth Goldstein of University of Pennsylvania. Begin in own family, community, neighborhood. There is interesting folklore in every community and every human being. Every town, every county, every state needs its folklorist. If you set out to become that person, you'll end up being it.
To Linda Oldham. One film is done, two more are almost completed. You can be proud that you contributed to a structural factor analysis of human culture.
To Dr. Ruby. The American Society of Visual Anthropology should not replace AFRI (Anthropological Film Research Institute).
Letter to Bob Gardener about the same.
Letter to Robert Ruvike about rejection of Ruvike's Cantometric study proposal. Resistance to Cantometrics similar to resistance from musicians to folk music in the 1930s. Appreciate your fantastic efforts.
To Dr. Vogel. Suggests he rent "Dance and Human History" and invite Forrestine Paulay to talk to your group. Our films are not meant to stand alone but need a knowledgeable person to explain them.
To the head of EMC recommending publication and distribution of K. D. Agrawala's beautiful film about East Indian tribal dance. An English commentary has been made.
Letter to Mr. Agrawala thanking him for permission to use clips of his film. Has written to a company that publishes anthropological films. Will let him know what they say.
To Gilbert hoping that John Szwed has sent bibliography.
To Mel about getting his film on the air. NET is the way to go, or WGBH in Boston. Tried to help Pierre Gaisseau get his fabulous film on the Cuna shown. Local route seems to be the way to go, as there seems to be no room on national television. Only way is to develop community activities.
To Jay ? glad to know my film has been accepted for your program.
To Mrs. Norris ? there are no courses at present for teaching Choreometrics, instead we have been using the medium of film.
To Margaret Henson. Purpose of our films: for analysis and hypothesis about how expressive arts develop. The difference between our age and others is that powerful information generating institutions such as schools and television dispense language, movement style, and musical styles from distant centers, disrupting the normal form of community generated entertainment and rendering local storytellers, poets, and wisemen impotent. It is a severe problem in minority groups. The result is that local culture and local history is disappearing. Local collecting is of paramount importance, if people are made aware of such collecting it develops morale. Think of the recordings as a testament to the range of personalities, communication styles, activities, and culture patterns in your community. People who do the recording should not all be concerned with getting historically documented fact, but with what individuals remember as the significant, exciting, and important aspects of their lives, so that from this oral account the attitudes and experience of people ? the legitimate people of Whitman and Sandburg ? can become known not only to scholars but to themselves.
Importance of high quality recordings without background noise. Need to seek out the best talkers ? in the black community there are geniuses at talking. Importance of cultural feedback to the community. Recordings should be published locally, made available in school classrooms, the radio so that the process can be restarted and flow of local life resumed. If not we are going to be responding only to football games and movies made in a studio.
Letter to Edith Trager. Latest news is that I embarked on a factor analysis of Cantometrics, Choreometrics, Parlametrics, and Paralinguistics. Report to AAA (American Anthropological Association) showed a similar factor set in each one of these fields, arriving at a system structure of culture itself was my goal and in my view I've got there. Wish we could work together, no one else has your imagination and speed. Structuralists are turning out nothing. George [Trager] is the intellectual father of us all. Asks Tom to send him a bibliography so he will know how devoted I am to everything he taught us how to do.
To Miss Ball informing of sources for Davy Crockett's stories.
To Shirley. Nice to hear from you through Roy Myers. His work in making folksong study systematic. Inability to obtain tapes from China.
Best wishes from an admiring fan.
To Ted. Too late but not for an apology for delay in answering request for my remarks for your volume. Hope you used notes of my verbal comments. Have pushed my work through factor analysis ? a first statement of a structural system of culture. Hard struggle with papers you sent. Ethological approach more fruitful than study of the brain due to limitations of our knowledge.
To Pete Seeger about violence on television. You are more than right. When one party has to be passive it builds up hostility, which feeds a desire for violent images. Most people can take it, a few go over the edge, result is a rising tide of evil everywhere in the country.
Pierre Gaisseau explains material on his tapes of the Cuna Indians of Panama to Alan Lomax. These include recordings of rituals for funeral and for a difficult birth (incorporating a creation myth). Images of the mother's womb as a jar and as a hammock. Women sing love songs and lullabies. Shamans (all male) are trained, memorize rituals. Clairvoyants are born (often with a caul). Can be female.
Alan Lomax: They sing more lullabies than any people I know. Cuna means "cradle" in Spanish, doesn't it?
Pierre Gaisseau on the history of the term 'Cuna' since the time of Columbus. Origin of the Cunas on Pacific coast. Place names. Historical evidence from Juan de la Costa and Dampier's surgeon who lived with the Indians. Cuna's customs are the same but vocabulary doesn't correspond.