Ko Gyi Kyaw is one of the most revered nats (spirits) in Burma (Myanmar), and the dance of this powerful spirit, who is considered to be a womanizer and a drunkard, is one of the most anticipated moments in a nat kana pwe (private spirit ceremony). At particular moments during a pwe, the devotees join the dances, calling and embodying, among others, the nat Ko Gyi Kyaw. While indulging in the consumption of alcohol and cigarettes, they experience the presence of the spirit: supported by the intense music of the nat hsaing (drums and gongs ensemble), they dance to the sound of many nat chins (spirit songs), celebrating the drunkard nat. This paper investigates the performance of a popular spirit song, Do Ko Gyi Kyaw. Focusing on a particular performance by the Kyi Lin Bo’s nat hsaing ensemble from Yangon, the paper discusses the performative strategies adopted by the musicians to interact with the possessed dancers. Through different analytical strategies and transcription methodologies, and drawing on the discourse of the performers themselves, this paper reveals the function and meaning of the ritual sounds; it analyzes how the structural elements of the song Do Ko Gyi Kyaw are adapted to the performance of the ritual dances. Looking at the song’s vocal and melodic elaboration, rhythmic interlocking, metric expansion/contractions, and changes in tempo/dynamics, this paper discusses how the hsaing sounds contribute to triggering, supporting, and controlling the spirit possession dances of the devotees, making the nat Ko Gyi Kyaw come into presence.

Do Ko Gyi Kyaw : Analyzing the Interactions between Rhythms, Melodies, and Sonic Structures of a Burmese Spirit Song Performance

Chiarofonte Lorenzo
2021

Abstract

Ko Gyi Kyaw is one of the most revered nats (spirits) in Burma (Myanmar), and the dance of this powerful spirit, who is considered to be a womanizer and a drunkard, is one of the most anticipated moments in a nat kana pwe (private spirit ceremony). At particular moments during a pwe, the devotees join the dances, calling and embodying, among others, the nat Ko Gyi Kyaw. While indulging in the consumption of alcohol and cigarettes, they experience the presence of the spirit: supported by the intense music of the nat hsaing (drums and gongs ensemble), they dance to the sound of many nat chins (spirit songs), celebrating the drunkard nat. This paper investigates the performance of a popular spirit song, Do Ko Gyi Kyaw. Focusing on a particular performance by the Kyi Lin Bo’s nat hsaing ensemble from Yangon, the paper discusses the performative strategies adopted by the musicians to interact with the possessed dancers. Through different analytical strategies and transcription methodologies, and drawing on the discourse of the performers themselves, this paper reveals the function and meaning of the ritual sounds; it analyzes how the structural elements of the song Do Ko Gyi Kyaw are adapted to the performance of the ritual dances. Looking at the song’s vocal and melodic elaboration, rhythmic interlocking, metric expansion/contractions, and changes in tempo/dynamics, this paper discusses how the hsaing sounds contribute to triggering, supporting, and controlling the spirit possession dances of the devotees, making the nat Ko Gyi Kyaw come into presence.
Chiarofonte Lorenzo
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/860998
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