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MSU Press book launch: 'When Animals Sing and Spirits Dance'

Event Date: 
Wed, 11/14/2012 - 5:30pm - 6:30pm


By Claude Boucher
and additional text by Gary Morgan, MSU Museum director
Photographs by Arjen van de Merwe 
Great Dance - Malawi
"When Animals Sing and Spirits Dance -- Gule Wamkulu: The Great Dance of the Chewa People of Malawi" is an introduction to the diversity and drama that is the gule wamkulu, the "great dance," of the Chewa people of Malawi. Covering 200 characters bedecked in mask and costume or woven structure, the book reveals not only the physical variety of the characters but also analyzes their songs, dances, and often codified messages that are delivered through word and action. It is through the dancers of the gule wamkulu that the ancestors communicate with the living and give instructions on how to abide by the code of moral conduct, the mwambo. It is also through the great dance that we can glean intimate insight into the values and worldview of the Chewa. Read more from MSU Press. 

Morgan also curated a "Great Dance" exhibit at the MSU Museum in 2011 as part of, "MASK: Secrets and Revelations." Learn more here. 

The book launch and signing will take place in the MSU Museum main entry hall. Refreshments will be served. 

when animals sing book cover