Silvers Book Cover

Prof. Silvers Publishes New Book

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The University of Illinois Press has published Assistant Professor Michael Silvers’s Voices of Drought, a timely new book in the emergent field of ecomusicology, exploring the connections between music and the environment.

In Voices of Drought, Michael B. Silvers proposes a scholarship focused on environmental justice to understand key questions in the study of music and the environment. His ecomusicological perspective offers a fascinating approach to events in Ceará, a northeastern Brazilian state affected by devastating droughts. These crises have a profound impact on social difference and stratification, and thus on forró music in the sertão (backlands) of the region. At the same time, the complex interactions of popular music and social conditions also help create the environment.

Silvers offers case studies focused on the sertão that range from the Brazilian wax harvested in Ceará for use in early wax cylinder sound recordings to the drought- and austerity-related cancellation of Carnival celebrations in 2014-16. Unearthing links between music and the environmental and social costs of drought, his daring synthesis explores ecological exile, poverty, and unequal access to water resources alongside issues like corruption, prejudice, unbridled capitalism, and expanding neoliberalism.

"This unique and timely work offers an important contribution to our understanding of how music and ecology are linked."--Jennifer C. Post, editor of Ethnomusicology: A Contemporary Reader, Volume II

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