Various Artists

Shamanic Journey Tapes: Musical Bow For The Shamanic Journey

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This is the latest release in the Shamanic Journey series put out by The Foundation for Shamanic Studies, the organization founded by the anthropologist and workshop leader Michael Harmer, author of the popular book The Way of the Shaman. As with all the tapes in the series, the sounds heard are not intended for aesthetic enjoyment but to help induce a trance state for shamanic journeying. Musical bows are used by Amazon Indians and by tribal peoples in different parts of the world for this purpose, and most of them consist of a single plucked string stretched between the ends of a bowed stick, with the mouth put close to the bow to act as a resonator. On this recording a Brazilian berimbau is used, which uses instead a calabash gourd for the resonating chamber. The berimbau produces only one note, a deliberately monotonous percussive sound, that sounds somewhat like a simplified Jew's harp. Side one has two 15-minute pieces, while side two features one 30-minute section, with rhythmic variations at the end of each section designed to signal the journeyer that it is time to come out of trance.