Trance Music, Symbolic Interactions and Social Representations in Nass El Ghiwane’s Artistic Experience
This article explores trance, therapy and social representations related to the music of Nass El Ghiwane, established in Hay Mohammadi, Casablanca, in the seventies. My objective is to show that the rituals of possession and trance music have been shifted from the zaouia space to the stage scene coinciding with the social change and the political turmoil in the seventies. The structure of rituals and trance music is nourished by everyday life problems and routines such as pain, suffering, poverty, political oppression, and social injustice. Overtly the band and the public are engaged in a dynamic interaction leading some people with a specific spiritual predisposition to achieve a trance state called “Al-hal” in Arabic. The Ghiwani song and trance music -mostly seen as a mere phenomenon by many critics- are described here as emerging mainly from the emotions and feelings of the musicians and the public, particularly painful feelings mingled with sociopolitical problems. Thus, rather than trance being something to do with the “mind” and the “brain”, it is here stressed that trance is an affective and spiritual experience. This article deals with an objective perspective of the band's musical experience, based on a critic approach highlighting the richness and intensity of trance feelings and emotions. The problem of social representations is questioning here the identity of the Self and the whole society. Superposition of many levels is used to describe trance feelings, unconscious, subconsciousness and social representations. Examining the importance of trance rituals reveals that social representations are the image of collective consciousness and social identity.
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