Various Artists – Buda / Musique Du Monde, Shamans And Possessed

John Schaefer

By John Schaefer

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Shamans And Possessed

Various Artists - Buda / Musique Du Monde

This survey of global trance traditions starts with the dramatic kecak (pronounced KEH-chak), the so-called "monkey chant" of Bali. Here, dozens of men, representing the monkey army of the Hindu Ramayana epic, sit in circles around a young female dancer, chanting the syllable "chak" in interlocking rhythms that send her into a state of trance. Originally an exorcism rite, it is one of the world's most distinctive pieces of music-theater. Shamanic rituals from Siberia, South America, and Central Asia are represented here, as is the voudou possession music of Haiti, with its hypnotic combination of drums ensemble and bell. For all the differences in the various traditions, it's the similarities that are most striking — the Baluchi exorcism ritual, for example, uses a fiddle and drums to essentially the same effect as the massed voices of the Balinese men.