Skyros Carnival is a reader-friendly multi-media book. It is the result of two visits to a small, out-of-the-way island in the Sporades Archipelago of the Aegean Sea. We went there because the yearly Skyros carnival is said to be Greece’s oldest extant – and funkiest — dionysian fete. Comprised of 60 b/w and color photographs, a cd soundscape, a video, and an accompanying explanatory text, Skyros Carnival is full of pleasures for the eye and ear, a poetic ethnography that hopes to be both engaging and informative. As the critic Eckehard Pistrick wrote in the Yearbook for Traditional Music: “Carnival as a ritual event, as a rite de passage, and as a source for musical creativity has been the topic of a wide range of publications inside and outside of ethnomusicology – but none have ever reached the surprising experimental character of the multimedia publication Skyros Carnival…” Skyros Carnival is not only an exemplary model of how to do ethnography with twenty-first century methods, but also a fascinating experiment in how to bring the poetics of fieldwork in scientific work into the foreground.”. – Eckehard Pistrick
Immediately upon opening this elegant volume, the reader will be struck, by the book’s personal tone. This is no dry exercise in anthropology. In the introduction to Skyros Carnival, the authors write individually about what drew them to the project, giving the reader unique insight into the creative process behind the book. For Blau it was a search for the roots of theater in popular performance; for Amanatidis, a Greek of the diaspora, it was a way to reconnect with a sense of place; for Panopoulos, it was his fascination with the symbolism of animal bells; for Feld it was an interest in the social power of sound. Together, these different perspectives offer the reader many ways to enter, explore, and enjoy this special book.