Voices in the Forest

VOICES OF THE RAINFORESTSmusicCelebrating three decades of Pulse of the Planet, here’s a program from our archives.In a rainforest, you may not be able to see more than three feet in front of you. To live in such an environment, you need to understand its sounds. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Ambience, rainforest”The people who live in this kind of environment, obviously, must adapt to sound. They must be able to use sound to tell distance, the time of day, the season of the year. They must be able to locate danger, to locate all sorts of things which are indicated by vision in other sorts of environments.”Steve Feld is director of the Center for Folklore and Ethnomusicology at the University of Texas at Austin. He’s speaking about the Bosavi people, who live in the rainforest of Papua, New Guinea.”For Bosavi people, all sounds are voices in the forest. (and) That’s because sounds tell the weather, they tell the time of day, they tell the season of the year. The migratory cycles of the birds tell people exactly what time of year it is in relation to things like planting and harvesting. Different birds announce the different times of the day. They announce the different changes in the winds. The birds also announce changes in the weather stream and that means rainstorms. In many ways the birds are the clock of everyday life and seasonal cycles in the rainforest. (and) When Bosavi people say that sounds are voices in the forest, this is what they’re tuning into. They’re tuning into clocks.”This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. Im Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Voices in the Forest

For the Bosavi people of Papua, New Guinea, sounds convey the pulse of the rainforest. This archival program is part of Pulse of the Planet's 30th anniversary celebration. Steven Feld is currently Senior Scholar at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Air Date:06/04/2018
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Transcript:

VOICES OF THE RAINFORESTSmusicCelebrating three decades of Pulse of the Planet, here's a program from our archives.In a rainforest, you may not be able to see more than three feet in front of you. To live in such an environment, you need to understand its sounds. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Ambience, rainforest"The people who live in this kind of environment, obviously, must adapt to sound. They must be able to use sound to tell distance, the time of day, the season of the year. They must be able to locate danger, to locate all sorts of things which are indicated by vision in other sorts of environments."Steve Feld is director of the Center for Folklore and Ethnomusicology at the University of Texas at Austin. He's speaking about the Bosavi people, who live in the rainforest of Papua, New Guinea."For Bosavi people, all sounds are voices in the forest. (and) That's because sounds tell the weather, they tell the time of day, they tell the season of the year. The migratory cycles of the birds tell people exactly what time of year it is in relation to things like planting and harvesting. Different birds announce the different times of the day. They announce the different changes in the winds. The birds also announce changes in the weather stream and that means rainstorms. In many ways the birds are the clock of everyday life and seasonal cycles in the rainforest. (and) When Bosavi people say that sounds are voices in the forest, this is what they're tuning into. They're tuning into clocks."This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. Im Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.