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date: 20 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In ethnomusicology, discussions about repatriation have tended to revolve around “applied” issues. Often left out of the conversation, however, is that when treated as a methodological tool, repatriation can also contribute in profound ways to more theoretical concerns in ethnomusicology. As such, this chapter argues that employing musical repatriation in our fieldwork can help ethnomusicologists write better ethnographies—and thus subsequently to theorize about music and musical people more effectively—as it gives us a privileged avenue to understand the musical communities with which we work. Supported by a case study from Bahia, Brazil, in which a series of repatriation experiences reveal different facets of Catholic saint devotion, this chapter focuses on some of the distinct ethnographic lessons gleaned from the return of several historical recordings to a devotee of Saint Roch more than three decades after the recordings were originally made.

Keywords: repatriation, applied ethnomusicology, Catholic saints, restudy, ethnography, ritual, samba, prayer

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