Muti Music - In search of suspicion


medical ethnomusicology
music therapy
healing rituals
South Africa
cultural spaces
music healing narratives

How to Cite

Pavlicevic, M., & Cripps, C. (2015). Muti Music - In search of suspicion. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 15(3).


Our playful title, "Muti Music", emblematises our stance of deliberate and cultivated suspicion towards medical ethnomusicology, for this special issue. Positioned within and between music therapy, medical anthropology and ethnomusicology, this paper considers how these disciplinary discourses and practices might engage with Medical Ethnomusicology, and what that prism might offer music therapy in particular. Muti Music proposes messy hybridity, which we suggest reflects the social-cultural and cosmological fusions necessary for contemporary practices whether in, or of, the South, East, North or West. Straddling the South and the Global North, we propose that Western (and at times bio-medically informed) healing and health practices might well consider reclaiming and re-sourcing their own, and other, traditional and indigenous healing cosmologies, whatever their respective and situated ideologies and ontologies. Despite apparent (and possibly intellectual and ideological) segmentations and separations of disciplines by Western scholarship and economics, we propose that "the ancestors" and "the aspirin" need to embrace rather than view one another with suspicion. Just possibly, each might become enriched (and discomforted) by the silenced coincidences of one another’s desires to know and experience our common humanity through music.

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