The History of Music from Anaphoria


The Anaphorian Creation Myth:
Part cosmological, part terrestrial, the island's creation myth is a complex web of interwoven tales of animals and battles and intimate love within which three events - usually referred to as "The Three Frivolous Battles" - have inspired an enormous body of music, both in the "Older Traditional Style" and the more recent "Newer Traditional Style".

Here is an mp3 of a podcast presented by Banaphshu during the opening celebration of Radio Nabu Congul 1/5/2010




The First Frivolous battle (Village of Lipari)

The primal goddess Aunan, spinning on a celestial spinning wheel, created the cosmos as a great harmonious web, but three of her company of deities (Sant, Cerdo and Belili) became jealous of her abilities and conspired to steal and destroy her wheel. In the battle for the wheel, it was the cosmic spiders, Marpessa and Chapalu, who held the assailants at bay, though not without damage to the axis of the wheel, which ever after spun off-kilter.

It should be noted that two recent studies (LaCoste, 1977 and Mota, 1989) conclude this is a more recent version of an older myth and both see in it an explanation for the "Precession of the Equinoxes". Neither, however, explains just how Anaphorians might have perceived this shift, but both call for a re-evaluation of traditional scientific bias against astronomical knowledge in so-called prehistoric societies.


Second Frivolous Battle (Town of Derketo) 

Marpessa and Chapalu later weave the earth and all its living creatures out of the dew (i.e. stars) that has collected in the web of Aunan. Meanwhile, Sant, Cerdo and Belili, determined to take revenge on Marpessa and Chapalu, were able to enlist aide from the Macha people. The Anaphorians were protesting the presence of the Macha in the square of the circular town of Derketo when the Macha attacked and either (a) "ruthlessly slaughtered" or (b) "magically scattered throughout all the world" all those present. Within a month, the Anaphorians left on the island, regrouped and planned a counterattack, which at first appeared quite hopeless due to their relatively small number. However, on the very eve of their planned attack, "the Ghosts of Derketo" fell upon the square, so frightening the Macha people that they not only fled the town but returned to their own kingdom. This myth is often referred to in other Anaphorian legends in which heroes/heroines "return" from where they have been scattered. In other stories, it is their descendants who miraculously reappear in times of travail. Certainly, this is one of their primal myths, and undoubtedly it has shaped the attitude toward strangers that modern researchers find so bizarre. It is a widely held belief in Anaphoria to this day that Marpessa and Chapalu will continue to intervene in the lives of their "children" until they are all returned home. As a direct result of the Great Missionary Influx of the 18th century, the story received a popular revival that is now widely believed to be responsible for the Great Missionary Expulsion of 1823.


Third Frivolous Battle (City of Ravenna):

In a time when the main body of the priesthood appeared on the verge of gaining complete political control for their own selfish ends, the following event is said to have taken place. During a religious ceremony in the provincial capital of Ravenna, a lone, talking bird entered the temple, reciting the Anaphorian alphabet, but in an apparently jumbled order. The people recognized this as a sign, especially after the priests panicked and attempted to kill the bird. After several attempts in which the bird repeatedly eluded and continued to heckle them, an elderly woman rose to her feet and announced that the "gibberish" the bird was spouting was, in fact, a very old and secret sequence of the Anaphorian alphabet that had once been common knowledge but had long ago been suppressed. Failing in their effort to rid the temple of the bird, the priests themselves abandoned the place. (It has since, of course, come to be the renowned Center for the Study of Alphabetical Sequencing, and people still make the pilgrimage to the Center from all over the island bearing clues to the riddle.) Since most of these new notions were counter to priestly dogma, the priests, still maintaining a strong, though tenuous, hold over the people, resisted. Thus occurred the Great Schism, which, sadly, continues to the present. And while the bird's alphabetical sequence is now widely, even commonly, accepted throughout the island, there remains to this day a hard-core group of alphabetical reactionaries (21% of the population) who refuse to use it at all.


In the month of Zio (late July-early August), an annual festival is held around Lake Aloe, Anaphoria's largest. It is a time of great rejoicing. Among the rituals performed is one in which the island leaders are seated in a mud pit amid a sprinkling of orchids while endless songs of ridicule are sung at them. A given leader's reaction to this annual indignity is the Anaphorian's most reliable barometer of a leader's potential for greatness. Leaders who have tried to suppress this ritual were killed. (Although not strictly a part of the creations myths, the origin of this one has been reliably dated to Neolithic times.)



Having developed their own tradition of alchemy, Anaphorians found uncommon parallels in the works of Jacob Boehme (1575-1624), whose formulations and treatises were translated into Anaphorian as early as the 1930's and have continuing popular appeal to this day. Music plays an important part in alchemy as it is traditionally practiced in Anaphoria. The most commonly played metric sequence is a 79 beat pattern (subdivided 8-8-8-5-8-8-8-5-8-8-5), which just so happens to be, perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, the atomic number of gold. This "gending" (composition) utilizes this basic 79-beat cycle with a nuclear theme limited to tetrads (four notes for the four elements) intervened by counter-themes relating to the octahedron (six notes formed as a result of combining two out of four elements). It must be said that the symbolism exists on too many levels to be wholly coincidental.


A favorite ending piece at concerts in Anaphoria, this particular composition has caused great consternation and misconceptions among scholars, but it can only truly be explained away as a canonic (at the inversion) passacaglia incorporating rhythmic and melodic ideas from the evening's performance. The description of it as a "recapitulation" misses the mark; for Anaphorians it is a reminder of the ultimate source from which all musical entities originate. It is as if we are hearing what was heard first, at the source, last.

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