Friday, January 16, 2009

Dr. Strangelove: Or How the Orishas Learned to Love I-Tunes.

Music is very important to the Orishas. Like most cultures, the tribes that practice Orisha worship had their own music, involving drums and chants. The drum beats played in the traditional ceremonies in the New World evolved from the music in Old World. That traditional music is still incredibly important to the Orishas.

However, their modern followers like modern music. Your favorite songs are going to invoke certain emotions within you to which they will respond. Your favorite love song will hit a nerve that Oshun will find attractive. You get an upbeat, drum heavy song that gets you up and moving and Chango is probably going to feel it too.

That being said, if you don’t like a song, whether it’s the traditional beats or that new song by the latest artist, they’re not going to feel your emotional response and it will be lost on you and them. I bought several cds filled with Orisha music and chants and I felt nothing but you put on some New Orleans blues and I can feel several entities pop into my head.

So, I’m gonna go through a list of songs that I have found the Orishas like in my experience. Individual results may very. First off, “Rio” by Duran Duran, Oshun LOVES that song. It comes on the radio and I can almost instantly feel her. Blondie’s “Rapture” is great one. Besides the fact that he’s actually in the video, Baron Samedi adores that song. One of my students, who is a child of the Pomba Gira, tells me that she can feel the Pomba Gira show up when Santana’s “Black Magic Woman” is played.

Enya’s “Orinoco Flow” is a favorite of Yemaya. The song has a wonderful watery feel to it. Eshu is strongly attracted to the Rollons Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil” (either the original or the Guns-N-Roses remake). There’s a lot of classical music that Obatala likes. He’s always liked “Principles of Lust” by Enigma. I think he likes the Gregorian chanting in it. I get the feeling he also likes the Beatles.

Ellegua likes a lot of different music, including Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix and gangsta rap. Ogoun responds well to heavy metal like Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” and Rob Zombie. Nana Buruku likes a lot of world music and Nine Inch Nails. There is something very primal about NIN’s music which Nana seems to enjoy.

There’s quite a bit of R&B that Chango really likes. If it’s been played in a club and danced to by sweaty, half-naked people, he’s probably shaken his booty to it. Oya seems to like music with a spiritual bent to it, like Madonna’s “Bedtime Stories.” “Goodbye Earl” by the Dixie Chicks is another good song for Oya. (hehehe...)

Whatever music you enjoy, all that’s important is that you have an emotional response to it. Without it, they will (like you) will feel nothing.