Dancing Prophets: Musical Experience in Tumbuka Healing


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For the Tumbuka people of Malawi, traditional medical practices are saturated with music. In this groundbreaking ethnography, Steven M. Friedson explores a health care system populated by dancing prophets, singing patients, and drummed spirits. Tumbuka healers diagnose diseases by enacting divination trances in which they see the causes of past events and their consequences for patients. Music is the structural nexus where healer, patient, and spirit meet--it is the energizing heat that fuels the trance, transforming both ...

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