Bernd Brabec de Mori deposited Shipibo Laughing Songs and the Transformative Faculty: Performing or Becoming the Other (2013) in the group Indigenous Studies on Humanities Commons 3 years, 8 months ago
Shipibo indigenous people perform a sophisticated array of vocal musical genres, including short ‘laughing songs’ called osanti. These song-jokes make fun of certain non-humans, mostly animals. They are by definition sung from within the non-humans’ perspective. Osanti are only performed by trained specialists in indigenous medicine and sorcery (médicos), because it is crucial that the performer owns the faculty of transforming into the animal in question, although in osanti the singers do not transform. Songs involving actual transformation are not meant for laughing: these are magical songs including interaction with and transformation into animals or spirits that possess a more ample radius of perception and action than ‘Real Human’ beings. Osanti songs, with their position between secular and magical songs, allow for an analysis of humour and laughing in the construction of the indigenous ontology, thereby questioning some generalisations made in theories of animism and perspectivism.