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An exemplary investigation into music and sustainability, Singing and Survival tells the story of how music helped the Rapanui people of Easter Island to preserve their unique cultural heritage. Easter Island (or Rapanui), known for the iconic headstones (moai) that dot the island landscape,
has a remarkable and enduring presence in global popular culture where it has been portrayed as a place of mystery and fascination, and as a case study in societal collapse. These portrayals often overlook the remarkable survival of the Rapanui people who rebounded from a critically diminished
population of just 110 people in the late nineteenth century to what is now a vibrant community where indigenous language and cultural practices have been preserved for future generations. This cultural revival has drawn on a diversity of historical and contemporary influences: indigenous heritage,
colonial and missionary influences from South America, and cultural imports from other Polynesian islands, as well as from tourism and global popular culture. The impact of these influences can be perceived in the island's contemporary music culture. This book provides a comprehensive overview of
Easter Island music, with individual chapters devoted to the various streams of cultural influence from which the Rapanui people have drawn to rebuild and reinforce their music, their performances, their language and their presence in the world. In doing so, it provides a counterpoint to deficit
discourses of collapse, destruction and disappearance to which the Rapanui people have historically been subjected.
About the Author
Dan Bendrups is an ethnomusicologist who investigates the role of music in sustaining cultural heritage. His research spans communities and cultures in the Americas and the Asia-Pacific, as well as migrant communities in Australia and New Zealand. He lectures in research education and development atLa Trobe University, Australia, where he is also a member of the La Trobe University Institute of Latin American Studies.