MSU Press Book Launch: 'WHEN ANIMALS SING AND SPIRITS DANCE,' NOV. 14
Wednesday, 11/14/2012 - 5:30 - 6:30 p.m., MSU Museum main entry hall
By Claude Boucher
and additional text by Gary Morgan, MSU Museum director
"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 world view of the Chewa.