The Voice and Its Doubles: Media and Music in Northern Australia
From the Studio to the Street
This chapter explores forms of vocal training and musical imagination in radio and music production and the reflexive, metapragmatic concern with the voice in performance that these entail. It describes how Aboriginal radio producers negotiate multiple tensions between their understandings of the voice as a plastic, technologically malleable site of expressive play and as the foundation of Indigenous identity and political agency. Drawing on fieldwork with Aboriginal radio producers-in-training, the chapter asks how the technical malleability of radio sound and its exploitation by Indigenous broadcasters working with digital editing software divorces the voice from any necessary relationship to speaking subjects and describes the arguments, anxieties, and insights this has entailed for Indigenous radio and music producers at an Indigenous country music station in southeastern Queensland. The chapter thus foregrounds the expressive, collective, and technically demanding labor required to secure radio’s seeming immediacy, liveness, and social purchase.