Photographs from De long en large Ladakh by Jean Mansion - Édition Findakly. Copyright Lise Mansion
Songs recorded in Nepal by Aurore Laurent and Adrien Viel, Hari Ram Acharya and Dipankar Dangol, between 2011 and 2018. In this small Himalayan country, it is to the sound of drums or bells that shamans enter a trance and travel to the worlds where their ancestors reside. During their journey, the shamans restore the broken harmony between ancestors/spirits, whose presence is palpable in every part of nature, and humans. Shamanism is present from the plains of the Terai to the Himalayan highlands and although in decline, it remains an established practice of great variety. Like an artist, the shaman develops his own style on the basis of a common learning process for his group. So each shaman is unique. Here are 9 extracts from shamanic rituals that we have recorded over the past eight years among the Chepang, Tamang and Gurung populations. Rituals and ceremonies are accessible to all, lasting several hours or even several days. Villagers or travellers passing through can come and attend as they please. Around life goes on, we prepare food, we sleep, we go and we come. In a tenuous continuity, the sacred, the everyday and other worlds coexist in the same space - that of our reality.
1 - Ritual of care at the Tamangs (2011)
Operated and sung by Uttam Tamang, recorded by Aurore Laurent and Adrien Viel.
2 - Exorcism Ritual among Chepangs (2018)
Operated and sung by Sita Chepang, recorded by Adiren Viel and Dipankar Dangol.
3 - Offerings to ancestors before departure for the pilgrimage of Janai Purnima (2011)
Operated by Uttam Tamang, Bhoddinath Tamang, Meme Tamang. Recorded by Aurore Laurent and Adrien Viel.
4 - 3 days of pilgrimage with the Tamang, on the occasion of Janai Purnima, from Kophasi to Gosaïkunda (2011)
Calls, glorifications and requests for protection to ancestors along the way. At the arrival at 4380 meters above sea level, Tamang sacred songs mix with the popular songs of visiting Sherpas. Operated by Santa Bhadur Tamang, Ram Bahadur Tamang, Krishna Tamang, recorded by Aurore Laurent and Adrien Viel.
5 - Chepang Festival of Nwagi, offerings of the first harvests according to the monsoon to the ancestors of the underground world (2011 and 2018)
Ceremony conducted by Prem Bahdur chepang, popular song by the villagers, recorded by Aurore Laurent, Adrien Viel and Dipankar Dangol.
6 - Ritual of care and exorcism among the Tamang (2015)
Operated and sung by Changpa Tamang, recorded by Aurore Laurent and Adrien Viel.
7 - Ceremony of recovery of souls, address to the spirit and exchange of the soul with a chick (2011) Operated and sung by Raj Bahadur Gurung, recorded by Aurore Laurent and Adrien Viel.
8 - During Gewa, second funeral Tamang, sacred song of accompaniment of the soul towards the land of the dead (2011)
Operated and sung by Santa Bahadur Tamang, recorded by Aurore Laurent and Adrien Viel.
9 - Exorcism Ritual at Chepang (2018)
Operated and sung by Sita Chepang, recorded by Adrien Viel and Dipankar Dangol.