Music and health in Kenya : sound, spirituality and altered consciousness juxtaposed with emotions

Autor :Muriithi Kigunda
Herkunft :OvGU Magdeburg, Fakultät für Geistes- Sozial- und Erziehungswissenschaften
Datum :02.07.2007
Dokumente :
Dataobject from HALCoRe_document_00004103
Typ :Dissertation
Format :Text
Kurzfassung :This text deals with the subject of healing practices in which music plays a major role. The relationship between music and healing is historically rooted in traditional Kenyan cultures still existing today. Kamba healing (see chapter 2), is an example of such practices that may be found in several parts of the country. But cultural changes that have occurred are such that traditional healing is now opposed by some members in Kenyan communities. Such opposition comes principally from those who subscribe to Christianity, such as the catholic charismatics (see chapter 3). Yet in both religious systems music remains a key factor in healing procedures that seem comparable. Economic and social systems have also changed, above all in cities like Nairobi, so that some city dwellers find themselves in odd circumstances, with hardly a means for survival. Many of these have opted for criminal and depraved ways of raising incomes, while some help themselves through performing street music. The musicians entertain passers-by, who, in return, offer them whatever money they have. How music helps street musicians, of whom many are handicapped, is also a subject of my discussion (see chapter 4). The study applied a phenomenological design in pursuit of the following three objectives: [1] to identify aspects of music that indicated that its composition and performance was influenced by an intention to create an atmosphere of healing, [2] to identify non-musical factors with a valued role in the performance of healing, [3] to identify particular significant changes taking place among participants. Fundamentally, Kamba healing emerges as any one of the following occurrences: [1] creation of connections between spirits and humans by waganga when there is a need to heal; [2] performing of supernatural acts by spirits, which demand offerings from waganga who benefit materially from the occurrence; [3] appeasing spirits in kilumi whereby ngui lead in singing and drumming while waganga give their bodies for spirits to dance in. For a biological problem herbal medicine is administered. If a problem is caused by a benevolent spirit kilumi is required, and the particular disease causing spirit(s) are identified so that ngui composes the song(s) to appease them. For problems sourced from malevolent spirits, witches, or curses, waganga perform certain rituals to neutralize the harmful supernatural powers. For all intents and purposes CCR healing is any of the following: [1] growth of faith in God, forgiveness, and repentance, [2] expression of favor by God, and [3] invoking of God’s power purposely for healing. The factors influencing healing therefore comprise: a) a spiritual authority variously referred to as God, Jesus, or Holy Spirit who is responsible for the actual healing; b) healing ministers, the humans believed to influence healing because it happens partly to reflect God’s favor upon them; c) faith, repentance and forgiveness determine whether God heals or not, and it is the responsibility of the healing ministers to promote them through teaching and evangelization; d) sound and physical gestures as the actual means of invoking spiritual powers. Because sound is a major variable, its management is institutionalized through the music minister. In the case of street musicians healing is in effect one or more of the following: [1] belief in God who promises good life on earth and/or everlasting life, as a source of hope in very challenging circumstances; [2] experience of music whose effect prevents escalation of anxiety to horrendous levels through messages of hope and expectations of better future; [3] being socially appreciated due to good music making skills; [4] income earning thus fulfilling of certain basic needs including healthcare, food and housing, minimizing their degree of dependency on others and reducing anxiety. In all cases two variables influenced healing namely: sound or music and spirituality. On the part of music, three general key findings emerged: [1] there was only one common feature in music: repetitive [or ||:AB:||] forms, [2] based on selected parameters, certain sound features had parallels in two contexts, in a manner contrasted with the remaining one context, [3] healing music often had specific demands such as special melodies, definite ways of linking different song pieces, and textual limitations. Viewed against existing literature, the prevalent features of healing Kenyan music do not portray it as remarkably distinct from other forms of Kenyan music, especially those from related contexts. Call and response, for instance, is a very prominent feature of both traditional and gospel popular music in Kenya. One therefore finds not sufficient grounds to describe Kenyan healing music as distinctive. Findings show that the music-spirituality alliance engendered two significant effects that guided the healing process. Though varied a great deal, these effects are classifiable broadly under: 1) altered consciousness and 2) emotions. Altered consciousness is any state of consciousness other than conscious and unconscious. Perception in altered consciousness is dismal, distorted, or it rises above the conscious when it enables intuition. The study identified six levels of perception in altered consciousness which often overlap namely: usual unconsciousness, elevated unconsciousness, image consciousness, suppressed consciousness, usual consciousness, and elevated consciousness. Each of these levels of perception had implications in connection with healing and music making, while some prevailed in one context and not the others. For example, it was in elevated consciousness state that waganga and healing ministers performed supernatural healing. And it was through suppressed consciousness that street musicians disallowed worries that would have been detrimental to their emotional health. Emotions were important in the healing processes but they seemed more meaningful in CCR and street contexts than the Kamba context. Emotions were often juxtaposed with altered consciousness thus: they were experienced along with altered consciousness in shared time and space either in different people or in same individuals. Emotions experienced in altered consciousness were in several respects unusual. The most significant observations regarding emotions were as follows: 1) In the case of Akamba, where emotions were experienced by dancers in altered consciousness, they were facially expressed but verbally inexpressible, which is why they cannot be trusted as true emotions, 2) In CCR emotions appeared to follow changing moods controlled through music and producing similar effects in many people simultaneously, 3) Among street musicians emotions were not predominantly negative or positive, and their situation intimates conflicts between negative and positive emotions. Apparently, emotions arising from their troublous lives were battled by musical emotions on the streets, when the musicians luxuriated in music until memories of their real life challenges resurfaced.
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Erstellt am :01.07.2008 - 06:57:39
Letzte Änderung :22.04.2010 - 08:45:16
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