Reimagining how we understand and write about the Indigenous listening experience
Hungry Listening is the first book to consider listening from both Indigenous and settler colonial perspectives. A critical response to what has been called the “whiteness of sound studies,” Dylan Robinson evaluates how decolonial practices of listening emerge from increasing awareness of our listening positionality. This, he argues, involves identifying habits of settler colonial perception and contending with settler colonialism’s “tin ear” that renders silent the epistemic foundations of Indigenous song as history, law, and medicine.
With case studies on Indigenous participation in classical music, musicals, and popular music, Hungry Listening examines structures of inclusion that reinforce Western musical values. Alongside this inquiry on the unmarked terms of inclusion in performing arts organizations and compositional practice, Hungry Listening offers examples of “doing sovereignty” in Indigenous performance art, museum exhibition, and gatherings that support an Indigenous listening resurgence.
Throughout the book, Robinson shows how decolonial and resurgent forms of listening might be affirmed by writing otherwise about musical experience. Through event scores, dialogic improvisation, and forms of poetic response and refusal, he demands a reorientation toward the act of reading as a way of listening. Indigenous relationships to the life of song are here sustained in writing that finds resonance in the intersubjective experience between listener, sound, and space.
Writing Indigenous Space
1. Hungry Listening
Event Score for Guest Listening I
2.Writing about Musical Intersubjectivity
xwélalà:m, Raven Chacon’s Report
3. Contemporary Encounters Between Indigenous and Early Music
Event Score for Return
4. Ethnographic Redress, Compositional Responsibility
Event Score for Responsibility: “qimmit katajjaq / sqwélqwel tl’ sqwmá:y”
5. Feeling Reconciliation
Event Score to Act