Efficacy of Sound : Power, Potency, and Promise in the Translocal Ritual Music of Cuban Ifa-Orisa, Paperback / softback Book

Efficacy of Sound : Power, Potency, and Promise in the Translocal Ritual Music of Cuban Ifa-Orisa Paperback / softback

Part of the Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology series

Paperback / softback

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The first book-length ethnographic study on music and Ifá divination in Cuba and Nigeria. Hailing from Cuba, Nigeria, and various sites across Latin America and the Caribbean, Ifá missionary-practitioners are transforming the landscape of Ifá divination and deity (òrìṣà/oricha) worship through transatlantic travel and reconnection.

In Cuba, where Ifá and Santería emerged as an interrelated, Yorùbá-inspired ritual complex, worshippers are driven to “African traditionalism” by its promise of efficacy: they find Yorùbá approaches more powerful, potent, and efficacious.   In the first book-length study on music and Ifá, Ruthie Meadows draws on extensive, multisited fieldwork in Cuba and Yorùbáland, Nigeria, to examine the controversial “Nigerian-style” ritual movement in Cuban Ifá divination.

Meadows uses feminist and queer of color theory along with critical studies of Africanity to excavate the relation between utility and affect within translocal ritual music circulations.

Meadows traces how translocal Ifá priestesses (ìyánífá), female batá drummers (bataleras), and priests (babaláwo) harness Yorùbá-centric approaches to ritual music and sound to heighten efficacy, achieve desired ritual outcomes, and reshape the conditions of their lives.

Within a contentious religious landscape marked by the idiosyncrasies of revolutionary state policy, Nigerian-style Ifá-Òrìṣà is leveraged to transform femininity and masculinity, state religious policy, and transatlantic ritual authority on the island.


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