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Opening the Portals of Heaven – Brazilian Ayahuasca Music

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This pocket book highlights the theme of music in the ayahuasca religions of Santo Daime (both the Cefluris and Alto Santo groups) and the União do Vegetal (UDV). Although most studies of the ayahuasca religions recognize the centrality of music in their rituals, the study of the music itself has generally been secondary to other themes, rather than the central focus that it is here. A rich cultural manifestation, ayahuasca music reveals multiple connections with Brazilian religiosity and with the musical expression of the Northeast and Amazonia, and has been one of the principal elements highlighted by recent efforts to designate ayahuasca as immaterial cultural heritage of the Brazilian nation. The book explores the key role that music plays in the everyday life of these religions, in the production of religious meanings, and in the construction of the bodies and the subjectivity of adepts. Through a description of each group’s musicality and a comparison among them, the authors seek to understand these groups’ ethos. This book represents an important contribution to an area of study that is still little explored in Brazil: the use of music in ritual and religious contexts.

Opening the Portals of Heaven: Brazilian Ayahuasca Music, by Beatriz Caiuby Labate & Gustavo Pacheco, Estudos Brasileiros – Brazilian Studies series, LIT Verlag, 120 pages.

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