Drones, Tones, and Timbres: Sounding Place among Nomads of the Inner Asian Mountain-Steppes
by Carole Pegg
University of Illinois Press, 2024
Cloth: 978-0-252-04545-5 | eISBN: 978-0-252-05507-2

Based on more than twenty years of collaborative research, Carole Pegg’s long-awaited participatory ethnography explores how Indigenous nomadic peoples of Russia’s southern Siberian republics (Altai, Khakassia, Tyva) sound multiphonies of place in a post-Soviet global world. Inspired by the mountain-steppe ecology and pathways of nomadism, soundscapes created in performative ritual events cross political and multiple-world boundaries in a shamanic-animist universe, enabling human and spirit actor interactions in a series of sensuous worlds. As with the “throat-singing” for which Indigenous Altai-Sayan peoples are famous, senses of place involve sonic relations, rootedness, movement, and plurality. Pegg echoes their drone-partials musical and ontological models in an innovative theoretical entwinement. Three strands form the book’s multivocal drone, the partials of which sound in each chapter: ontological sonicality and musicality that enables emplacement and movement; the importance of shamanism-animism--at the core of Indigenous spiritual practices--for personhood and community; and the agency of sonic performances. Sounding place, Pegg demonstrates, is essential to the identities, ways of life, and very senses of being of Indigenous Altai-Sayan peoples.

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