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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Musician and Transmission of Religious Tradition: The Multiple Roles of the Dabtara
Author:Shelemay, Kay K.
Year:1992
Periodical:Journal of Religion in Africa
Volume:22
Issue:3
Period:August
Pages:242-260
Language:English
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Subjects:healers
Ethiopian Church
music
education
musicians
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/1580919.pdf
Abstract:This essay traces the pivotal role of a single category of musicians, the 'däbtäras', whose well-known activity at the centre of Ethiopian Christian musical practice is in fact only one aspect of their multifaceted role in religious life in Ethiopia. In addition to their formal responsibilities as musicians and liturgical practitioners within the church, many 'däbtäras' past and present have been magicians and healers. These activities have served to bring the main carriers of Ethiopian Christian liturgy into ongoing contact with peoples formally associated with many other Ethiopian religious systems. Of additional, but strictly historical, significance today, is the once important role of 'däbtäras' within the traditional religion of the Beta Israel (Falasha). The complex role of the 'däbtära' in Ethiopian religious life is analysed through an examination of the educational process he undergoes. This investigation reveals the range of information, or 'cultural capital' that a 'däbtära' acquires and subsequently controls both within and outside of musical domains. Notes, ref.
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