Remains of RitualNorthern Gods in a Southern Land

Remains of RitualNorthern Gods in a Southern Land

Steven M. Friedson

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226265049

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


This book on musical experience in African ritual focuses on the Brekete/Gorovodu religion of the Ewe people. It presents a multifaceted understanding of religious practice through a historical and ethnographic study of one of the dominant ritual sites on the southern coast of Ghana: a medicine shrine whose origins lie in the northern region of the country. Each chapter considers a different aspect of ritual life, demonstrating throughout that none of them can be conceived of separately from their musicality—in the Brekete world, music functions as ritual and ritual as music. Dance and possession, chanted calls to prayer, animal sacrifice, the sounds and movements of wake keeping, the play of the drums, all come under careful scrutiny, as does the author's own position and experience within this ritual-dominated society.