When Steven Feld began his fieldwork in 1976 among the Kaluli of Papua New Guinea he was so struck by the continual sounds of the rainforest that he began recording them with his Nagra reel-to-reel tape recorder and learning to understand the soundscape as the Bosavi do—as sounds marking the time of day, distance, changes in the weather, and the voices of departed ancestors. The creation of the film Voices of the Rainforest has a long history that requires some historical context. After publishing Sound and Sentiment in 1982, Feld returned to Papua New Guinea to record the rainforest (and the interaction of the Kaluli with it) after having sought advice on recording in tropical rainforests from the BBC and Australian broadcasting. From these new recordings he created a soundscape radio program for NPR called Voices in the Forest, which distilled a full day in the life of...

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