Okinawa Shaman Songs:

Published: 03rd June 2010
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Okinawa Shaman Songs:

Here at the bottom is a translation of one of many Okinawan shaman songs, which are only sung be the female shamans of Okinawa. The male shamans of Okinawa do not sing, however they do grunt in a rhythm, and many times accompany the female shamans with drums, rattles, and other sacred instruments. There will always be a pairing of a female and a male shaman when doing specific healing rituals. Not having to focus on drumming, the female shaman can put all of her spiritual energy into the vibrations of her voice, making the song at least ten times more powerful. There are hundreds of shaman songs, and most are improvised for whatever that situation calls for, however this one is specifically used to bring the shaman and others into a wonderful trance state. This song is part of a winter festival, which commemorates the island's settlement and the first great mother's who founded the settlement so many years ago.

The song is "fusa," which as be translated into the meaning of trance song. This fusa is in a ceremonial cycle of songs in which the shaman asserts a woman's right to own and control the household she lives in. This right is not recognized by Japanese laws. For this song, the males are not allowed to enter the sanctuary where the song is sung, however they do pray on the outside. The fusa is a difficult songs with tight and smooth lyrics, which call in the human and divine. The singers of the song are not thought to be possessed by the gods during the song and trance, but rather visited or accompanied, as they all exist side-by-side. The song is performed first by the more elderly shamans and then passed on to the young women related either in blood or designation.


The Songs of the Mothers:

"The gods peaceful
the householders gentle
descending from the original village
descending from divine Shiraji
the great gods want our song
they desire the god-shamans' trance song"


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