Facts about Utania - 25

Utanian music, outside the foreigner-driven cities, is rich, lively and danceable and, best of all, yet to be discovered (exploited!). Most music in Utania derives from the spiritual music used in religious events and occasions, but much has been adapted for story-telling and pleasure. Consisting mostly of pan-flute, drums and a guitar-like instrument called an "Aparea", the music is fast-paced or deeply moving. Singing is encouraged giving Utanian music a sort of communal emphasis. This is the traditional sound, and the best examples can be found in rural communities in Utani B'yan.
     Other styles of Utanian music include mostly-religious chorals and hymns. Utanian choral singing has been significantly refined over the past thousand years, and reaches a quality that few can compete with. Hearing a traditional Utani Choir singing a traditional hymn can cause people to change religions (of course, the idea). Best examples are actually close to the eastern seaboard, Ujam, Utan-Nystos, Yoamith and Letherington.
     In Savana, spiritual songs are deeper, more resonant chanting, and can be deeply affecting to hear a thousand such chanters in a Savaj Church. The women in Savana are encouraged to sing the choral style of the tropical regions, unable, obviously, to reach the lower notes of the Savaj-style chanting.
     In Luka itself, a fusion of many international styles of music can be enjoyed, using traditional Utani instruments some very unusual styles have also evolved. "Calypso" is a favourite blended style preferred along the hot, sunny east coast.


Modern Utanian literature is somewhat still underground, hiding from the now-banished Guwimithian oppressor. Traditional literature dates from the Utanian Renaissance, when numerous plays and theatrical pieces were written to entertain the people. Theatre and sports were widely enjoyed during the Savaj Imperial period, and numerous examples remain. Most were homilies written to encourage spiritual development or discourage deceitful behaviour, but, there was also a literary fascination with exploring the world as they knew it. This includes adventurous stories of faraway lands, and explorations of the inner man, what motivated evil. "Co Jomara" is a good example of homily/adventure writing during that period, and "Kopanaj taura yo Opay" ("The sailor's daughter is distracted") is an example of Utanian exploration of men's wrongdoing. Both are available in Ingallish.
Utanian cinematic expression is relatively new, the technology only having existed in the past fifty years in the Dependencies. Yet, despite this setback, Utanian cinema has exploded over the past twenty years, with several productions being still available on video in Utania (several more were burnt by the oppressive regime). A continuation of the traditional literary themes has evolved in Utanian cinema, with a production of "Kopanaj taura yo Opay" released in '97. Unfortunately, most Utanian cinema is only available in Utanian, and few have been translated. There is growth in Ingallish-language productions, primarily for foreigner audiences in the main centres, and most international blockbuster films are available in Utania as well.
     Fortunately for the Utanian arts, all political parties have vowed to provide funding to Utanian art foundations, and to prevent too great an influx of foreign-made films into Utania, in order to foster local artistic talent.


Above all else, remember that Utani people are deeply religious, and though very tolerant and forgiving of foreigners, they can be offended by disregard for their beliefs or traditions. When visiting churches and palaces, dress more formally than you may normally, wearing long trousers, at least. Always obey rules made by guides or guards in these buildings, churches or museums. Most rules are not strict and merely represent a respect for your surrounds.
     Utani are traditional when it comes to sex - sex is what married people do, and the traditional order of wedding-then-sex doesn't have to hold. If you find yourself sleeping with an Utani, male or female, don't be surprised if the relatives arrive to bathe you in wedding gifts! To then skip the country is a major offense! And be aware that physical contact is more liberal in Utani culture, and does not necessarily mean anything sexual.
     The Utani people are generous to a fault, and will rarely fail to invite you into their homes for meals. Feel free to accept, for unlike the rest of the world they genuinely make such invitations. "What is mine is yours" is a good, oft-repeated saying amongst traditional Utani, even urbanised ones. It is customary then, to accept an "invitation" to help them if they ask. Most often they will not, but assisting people you are staying with with their chores is not only a good way to show your reciprocal generosity, but a good way to connect with these people and get more from your trip than you normally could. This is particularly the case in traditional villages.

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