Giving women a voice
Christian songs and female expression at Kopiago, Papua New Guinea
Keywords:Papua New Guinea, gender, Christian music, laments, women, composition, empowerment
At Lake Kopiago, in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, women’s public music-making is often restricted and men are the most visible performers. However, the introduction of Christianity has seen women become more visible in the musical landscape through their participation in church musical activities. Christian songs learnt by women in church are now spilling over into the secular realm, forming the basis for much community composition. Women are able to directly express their desires, and their anxieties, in music, using these newly introduced musical tools. This paper investigates the processes of women’s composition in these terms, focusing on songs composed and performed by the Duna women of Lake Kopiago, Southern Highlands Province.
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