Tim Boucher

Questionable content, possibly linked

Author: Tim B. (Page 1 of 41)

Greek Rhapsodes

“Often, rhapsodes are depicted in Greek art, wearing their signature cloak and carrying a staff. This equipment is also characteristic of travellers in general, implying that rhapsodes were itinerant performers, moving from town to town. […]

The word rhapsōidos was in use as early as Pindar (522–443 BC), who implies two different explanations of it, “singer of stitched verse”, and “singer with the staff”. Of these the first is etymologically correct; the second was suggested by the fact, for which there is early evidence, that the singer was accustomed to hold a staff (ῥάβδος rhabdos) in his hand, perhaps, like the sceptre in the Homeric assembly, as a symbol of the right to a hearing or to “emphasize the rhythm or to give grandeur to their gestures”.

There was, however, certainly a profession of aoidos. Eumaeus, a character in the Odyssey, says that singers (aoidoi), healers, seers and craftsmen are likely to be welcomed as guests, while beggars are not;

Japanese Biwa Hoshi “Lute Priests”

“…also known as “lute priests”, were travelling performers in the era of Japanese history preceding the Meiji period. They earned their income by reciting vocal literature to the accompaniment of biwa music. Often blind, they adopted the shaved heads and robes common to Buddhist monks. […]

Religion in Japan at the time incorporated many native animistic (Shinto) beliefs into its Buddhist theological framework, leading many court nobles and religious leaders to worry about angry Taira spirits disrupting the peace.”

Chinese Imperial Music Bureau

“The earliest mentions of a government office of music or at least an official in charge of music or a department of music is found in Chinese mythology. Huang Di is claimed to have appointed a Governor of Music, named Ling Lun.[1] As Governor of Music, Linglun seems to have been charged with designing and overseeing the production of actual instruments, as well as the development of the musical scale. Emperor Shun is said to have founded a Ministry of Music, to which he appointed a Minister Kui to head. The main purpose of this institution was to teach the heirs apparent proper conduct and harmony (in both sense of the word), and as such it served as a mythological model for both the future Music Bureau and the imperial education system.”

Kobzar Guilds (Ukraine)

“In Ukraine, kobzars organized themselves into regional guilds or brotherhoods, known as tsekhs. They developed a system of rigorous apprenticeships (usually three years in length) before undergoing the first set of open examinations in order to become a kobzar.

These guilds were thought to have been modelled on the Orthodox Church brotherhoods as each guild was associated with a specific church. These guilds then would take care of one church icon or purchase new religious ornaments for their affiliated church (Kononenko, p. 568–9). The Orthodox Church however was often suspicious of and occasionally even hostile to kobzars.”

“Blind itinerant musicians, known as kobzars and lirnyks, organized themselves into guilds along the same lines as professional craftsmen. These professional itinerant musicians would gather at regular meeting spots on particular dates to celebrate religious feasts, administer examinations for the induction of novices and masters, and collect money for placement of votive candles under icons of patron saints and to also discuss the business of the guild. “

“However, the lirnyk played the lira, a kind of crank-driven hurdy-gurdy, while the kobzars played the lute-like banduras. Lirnyky were usually blind or had some major disability. They were active in all areas of Ukraine from (at least) the 17th century on. “

See also:

West African Masquerade

Nigeria, video example:

“One of the functions of these clown masquerade dancers is to distract the audience from more serious things that may be occurring at a nearby location; for example, more serious masquerade dancing in which the dancers are said to be possessed by spirits-often very powerful spirits that should not be seen by anyone who has not been initiated.”

Burkina Faso, example:

Orchard wassailing

“The orchard-visiting wassail refers to the ancient custom of visiting orchards in cider-producing regions of England, reciting incantations and singing to the trees to promote a good harvest for the coming year.”

Video examples:

“In English folklore, the Apple Tree Man is the name given to the spirit of the oldest apple tree in an orchard,[1] and in whom the fertility of the orchard is thought to reside.[2] Tales about the Apple Tree Man were collected by the folklorist Ruth Tongue in the cider producing county of Somerset.”

Courir de Mardi Gras

“These traditions originated in a time when most of the land and money was held by the upper classes. The poor, at the end of long winters and short on food, would gather in groups and make their way from castle to manor house to beg for food from the wealthy, dancing and singing in return for the generosity of the nobles.”

Pillar-dwellers (Stylites)

“When the monastic Elders living in the desert heard about Simeon, who had chosen a new and strange form of asceticism, they wanted to test him to determine whether his extreme feats were founded in humility or pride. They decided to order Simeon under obedience to come down from the pillar. They decided that if he disobeyed, they would forcibly drag him to the ground, but if he was willing to submit, they were to leave him on his pillar. St Simeon displayed complete obedience and humility, and the monks told him to stay where he was.”

Entered Musicians of the House of Silence

Upon reaching a certain level of devotion, a master minstrel may elect to join the House of Silence. Through the completion of an elaborate ordeal which tests both their skill and character, they may be admitted by their Elders as an Entered Musician of the House of Silence. Entered Musicians join the Silent Orchestra which holds deeply moving quiet concerts free and open to the public year round.

A must see while visiting Quatria.

Irish File & Imbas forosnai

“The file is to be regarded as in the earliest times as combining in his person the functions of magician, lawgiver, judge, counsellor to the chief, and poet.” [Hull]

[…]

“However, the culture placed great importance on the fili’s ability to pass stories and information down through the generations without making changes in those elements that were considered factual rather than embellishment.”

[…]

“Nonetheless in Gaelic society the chief filí of the province, or Ollamh, was seen as equal status to the Ard-rí, or High King. This high social status existed right into Elizabethan times, when English nobility were horrified to see the Gaelic chieftains not just eating at the same table as their poets, but often from the same dish. Eventually classical literature and the Romantic literature that grew from the troubadour tradition of the langue d’oc superseded the material that would have been familiar to the ancient fili.”

“Imbas forosnai involved the practitioner engaging in sensory deprivation techniques in order to enter a trance and receive answers or prophecy.

In the Celtic traditions, poetry has always served as a primary conveyance of spiritual truth. Celtic texts differentiate between normal poetry, which is only a matter of learned skill, and “inspired” poetry, which is seen as a gift from the gods.”

“…a bearer of “old lore” (seanchas). In the ancient Celtic culture, the history and laws of the people were not written down but memorized in long lyric poems which were recited by bards (filí), in a tradition echoed by the seanchaithe.”

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