Title: Georges Condominas and Alan Lomax discuss Mnong Gar tribe of Vietnam (part 3)
Date recorded: May 11, 1963
Date recorded: May 11, 1963
Physical form: Reel to Reel
Tape number: T1258
Track Number: 1
Archive ID: T1258
Belongs to: Condominas/Lomax, 1963
Note: Mouth organ similar to other such instruments in North Vietnam. Pipe attached to gourd. Gong orchestra comprises six players each playing one note. Players are disposed in a crescent but no sociological order to seating. They don't play often and there are problems of coordination. Children learn to play gongs without formal instruction. They try it out when relatively unobserved. Lullabies repeat the sound "eee eee." Words typically "Don't cry." No dramatic content. There are call-and-response songs with story of the tiger. Children corrected (not harshly) by older sister, not parents. A Beautiful baby is praised by pinching its cheeks. Children can talk well by six years old. They accompany parents into fields, begin to work when about eleven. A good worker is encouraged, is desired on work teams, but there is no spirit of competition as in the West where people "buy" an education. There is no view to the future. Children sleep in parents' section of the long house until they are seven. Then they will visit other children and sleep together in section reserved for guests and older children. Quong is an important man but not as an authority, rather as an intermediary or negotiator. Important men and men of property are suspected of sorcery. Individualism versus collective: Property is spoken of as belonging to the clan, when in reality it belongs to an individual. People do not speak of "my" man or woman, but there is little adultery. There is a strong sense of the couple. Level of sexual activity is low. Children are referred to as being children of the clan. Poetry is not very individual. Repertoire is borrowed. Formerly there was little traveling to other villages - this changed after colonialism. Alan Lomax remarks that there is a timidity in the culture, asks where fear is coming from. Condominas: the environment is a source of insecurity. There are man-eating tigers, epidemics, and famines when people must forage for roots and vines in the forest. It is considered bad luck to speak of prosperity. One doesn't accept an invitation to put on a joint feast, there is hesitation and negotiation. There is a mood of sadness, but not misery. Mnong Gar are not expansive compared to Mediterranean peoples. Sorcerers are supposed to eat people's souls, but souls are materialized as animals.
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About the session: Georges Condominas and Alan Lomax discuss the Mnong Gar of Vietnam
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