Shamanism, Music, and Healing in Two Contrasting South American Cultural Areas

Dale A. Olsen

in The Oxford Handbook of Medical Ethnomusicology

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199756261
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:
 Shamanism, Music, and Healing in Two Contrasting South American Cultural Areas

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Healing, as an aspect of shamanism, occurs in a variety of forms wherever it is practiced. Within a diversity of South American cultures and indigenous populations, supernaturally caused illnesses are cured by spiritually knowledgeable specialists (shamans) who, while in trance, encounter illness-causing spirits through dialogue or combat. This article focuses on two contrasting cultures from two widely different regions of South America: the Warao Amerindians from the rain forest of the Orinoco River Delta in northeastern Venezuela and the people from the desert of Peru's northern coast, some of whom are possibly descendants of Moche or other pre-Spanish Amerindians. As different as these two cultures are, however, there are bases for comparison of their shamanistic and musical healing practices, which can provide insights into general characteristics of shamanistic healing through music.

Keywords: healing; shamanism; South American cultures; Warao Amerindians; pre-Spanish Amerindians

Article.  14325 words. 

Subjects: Music ; Ethnomusicology

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