Efficacy of Sound: Power, Potency, and Promise in the Translocal Ritual Music of Cuban Ifá-Òrìsà (Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology) (Paperback)

Efficacy of Sound: Power, Potency, and Promise in the Translocal Ritual Music of Cuban Ifá-Òrìsà (Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology) By Ruthie Meadows Cover Image
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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.

About the Author

Ruthie Meadows is assistant professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Praise For…

“With this innovative book, Meadows significantly expands our understanding of Afro-Cuban religious music and its ever-changing manifestations. Her exploration of ritual music associated with divination across the island, her focus on transatlantic religious dialogues between Nigeria and Cuba, her emphasis on the contested nature of religious orthodoxy, and her close attention to the struggles of women all represent major contributions to existing scholarship.”
— Robin Moore, The University of Texas at Austin

“Meadows’s years of research and solid scholarship shed new light on the fast-moving nigeriano religious movement in Cuba. Her accessible and engaging writing allows diverse kinds of readers to understand a complex phenomenon. This important book will be of interest to scholars and researchers of Cuban and Yorùbá music and religion, as well as a vast international readership of òrìṣà devotees and musicians.”
— Amanda Villepastour, Cardiff University

Product Details
ISBN: 9780226828954
ISBN-10: 0226828956
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: November 7th, 2023
Pages: 272
Language: English
Series: Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology