Accepted Paper:

Healing and playing with non-human entities through Andean musical instruments  


Juan Javier Rivera Andia (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Paper short abstract:

I will examine the relationships with non-human entities through the ethnography of the vernacular uses and conceptions related to two indigenous musical instruments of the Quechua people of the Northern Peruvian Andes.

Paper long abstract:

In this paper, I will propose an example of two different types of relationships an Amerindian ethnic group of the Andes hold with non-human entities that inhabit their cosmological world and imagined environment. Through recent fieldwork and ongoing ethnography about the vernacular uses and native conceptions related to songs and musical instruments (an aerophone and an idiophone), I try to detect different approaches to non-human agents dealing with different purposes. While the idiophone (a maraca used during healing rituals to accompany songs) is used to contact the "spirits" that inhabit hills or lakes in order to help curing a patient's illness; the melody played with the aerophone (a particularly morphological traverse flute played only by women) is said to be heard from the mountain spirits. The region in which fieldwork has been conducted is the territory of the Quechua people of the Northern Peruvian Andes usually called "Cañaris" (the highlands and foothills of the province of Ferreñafe, department of Lambayeque).

Panel W049
Sonic beings? The ontologies of musical agency