Singing Story, Healing Drum

Shamans and Storytellers of Turkic Siberia

Kira Van Deusen

  • $30.00s paperback (9780295984186) Add to Cart
  • hardcover not available
  • Published: 2004
  • Subject Listing: Anthropology
  • Bibliographic information: 224 pp., 30 illus., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: Usa And Philippines Only
  • Published with: McGill-Queens University Press
  • Contents

Singing Story, Healing Drum explores the shamanic practices, worldview, oral traditions, and music of the Turkic peoples of Tuva and Khakassia (south Siberia), past and present. It is based on the author's fieldwork since 1993, conducting interviews, recording stories, participating in rituals and everyday life. Set in the context of social change in the post-Soviet period, it includes conversations, folktales, legends, and shamanic poems that illuminate spiritual traditions, and introduces ethnographic literature in Russian, mostly unavailable in the West. Wherever possible, the material comes through the voices of indigenous people: scholars, practitioners, and participants in cultural review.

Kira Van Deusen presents an integrated, holistic picture of Turkic spiritual culture, exploring the inner world shamans and other visionaries describe and the ways they cross the boundaries between ordinary and non-ordinary reality. Since nomadic life is never static, its traditional expression comes through performing arts-music and oral poetry-more than visual representation. Most of these arts involve sound and the processes are equally as important as the results. They involve the whole community and are vital in the revival of indigenous culture today.
Kira Van Deusen , a storyteller/folklorist in Vancouver, B.C., is the author of The Flying Tiger: Women Shamans and Storytellers of the Amur and Raven and the Rock: Storytelling in Chukotka.

"Kira Van Deusen interweaves traditional academic scholarship with her own personal experiences, producing a work that is at once travel narrative, autobiography, history, and ethnology. To the degree that we can ever step back completely from the cultures we study, this work succeeds in allowing those who tell their stories to speak for themselves. Van Deusen's book is endlessly fascinating, often moving, and a must read for anyone interested in the cultures of Siberia."
-Adele Barker, University of Arizona

"The stories in this book are truly captivating."
-Jean-Guy A. Goulet, Saint Paul University

"In an impressive turn for her already notable oeuvre, Van Deusen takes that rare hybrid genre of careful scholarship and clear writing for a wide audience one step further . . . her writing is consistently excellent, often poetic, and always clear."
-Bruce Grant, New York University

1. History of Tuva and Khakassia
2. Tuvan and Khakass Shamans
- A Shaman in Stalin's Time
- The Horse Thief
- Ondar's Healing
- A Shaman's Competition
- Mitrei's Initiation and Divination through Throwing the Cup
- The Voice of the Mountain Spirit
3. Spiritual Geography and Its Inhabitants
- The Dragon Descended from the Sky
- Sacred Animals Yzykh
- Saving the Mountain
- The Spirit of Sunduki
- Oskus-ool and the Daughter of Kurbustu-Khan
4. Storytellers, Tales, and Their Characters
- Slava Kuchenov and the Song Spirits
- Storyteller Agol
- Andrei Chuldum-ool and the Forty Mice
- The Smart Girl
- The Stingy Storyteller
5. The Power of Sound: Music as a Point of Entry to the Inner World
- Khoomei Legend
- The Igil (I)
- The Musical Horse Thief
- The Shoor
- The Mistress of the Taiga
- The Shoor Player
- Chatkhan (I)
- Chatkhan (II)
- The Invention of the Chadagan
- The Igil (II)
6. Language and Poetry as Points of Entry to the Inner World
- Seventy Languages
- Algysh for a New Drum
- The Shaman's Prayer to the Mountain
- Itpekov's Song
- Norilkov's Story
7. Contemporary Shamans in Tuva and Khakassia
- Ilona's Ancestors
References and Suggestions for Further Reading