Traveling Spirit Masters: Moroccan Gnawa Trance and Music in the Global Marketplace

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Overview

A group of ritual musicians and former slaves brought from sub-Saharan Africa to Morocco, the Gnawa heal those they believe to be possessed, using incense, music, and trance. But their practice is hardly of only local interest: the Gnawa have long participated in the world music market through collaborations with African-American jazz musicians and French recording artists. In this first book in English on Gnawa music and its global reach, author Deborah Kapchan explores how these collaborations transfigure racial and musical identities on both sides of the Atlantic. She also addresses how aesthetic styles associated with the sacred come to inhabit non-sacred contexts, and what new amalgams they produce. Her narrative details the fascinating intrinsic properties of trance, including details of enactment, the role of gesture and the body, and the use of the senses, and how they both construct authentic Gnawa identity and reconstruct historically determined relations of power. Traveling Spirit Masters is a captivating and elucidating demonstration of how and why trance—and indeed all sacred music—is fast becoming a transnational sensation.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Traveling Spirit Masters will … prove to be of greater interest to students and scholars of Middle East studies.”—Jeffrey Callen, Review of Middle East Studies / MESA Bulletin
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819568519
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 10/26/2007
  • Series: Music Culture
  • Pages: 362
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

DEBORAH KAPCHAN is an associate professor of performance studies at New York University. She is the author of Gender on the Market: Moroccan Women and the Revoicing of Tradition (1996).

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Table of Contents

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Transcription
Introduction: Initiation
PART ONE: THE CULTURE OF POSSESSION
Chapter One: Emplacement
Chapter Two: Intoxication
Chapter Three: "A Gesture Narrowly Divides Us From Chaos": Gesture and Word in Trance Time
Chapter Four: Working the Spirits: The Entranced Body, The Entranced Word
Chapter Five: On the Threshold of a Dream
Chapter Six: The Chellah Gardens
PART TWO: POSSESSING CULTURE
Chapter Seven: Money and the Spirit
Chapter Eight: In France with the Gnawa
Chapter Nine: Narratives of Epiphany
Chapter Ten: Possessing Gnawa Culture: Displaying Sound, Creating History in Dar Gnawa
Chapter Eleven: Conclusion: The Alchemy of the Musical Imagination
Chapter Twelve: Epilogue

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