An Ndeup is a Senegalese healing ceremony using Sabar drums, sacrifice and spiritual showers to draw bad spirits or Rap out of an individual (or individuals). Usually an Ndeup is held for a particular person who has been sick or feeling sick spiritually. Family Ndeup’s are also held. During the ceremony the Sabar Drum Rhythm ‘Ndeup’ is played and the event is facilitated by women who specialize in the ceremonies. These women conduct the sacrifice, spiritual showers and keep everyone safe.  A number of people observing the drumming part of the ceremony may FALL DOWN as they call it. It can be described perhaps like a seizure/or possession; rolling on the ground, eyes rolling, flaying, dancing, animal sounds and reenacting.  For an observer/spectator to FALL DOWN can be quite unexpected to them and the person will not remember anything about it when they come out of it. (which can last from 5 minutes to all evening) however, it IS expected that spectators will Fall Down. This is viewed by the group as a good thing and the drummers will strengthen their drumming to help draw any bad spirits out. Many will joke that they can not go spectate or they might fall down. Falling down for some may indicate that they need an Ndeup ceremony of their own, their dance or reaction indicating the scacrifce needed. It is a very nurturing event and usually very effective as was the latest one I attended. The woman who the Ndeup was for responded very quickly in body, mind, and spirit and spent most of the time having fun dancing and smiling. As a ‘cultural’ outsider I realized that if I or anyone listened intently enough to the downbeat of the rhythm that day they would most certainly Fall Down. At one point I remember pulling myself ‘away’ from this part of the rhythm to keep from what I thought might end up in me falling down. Later in the evening I did start to cry, not sob, but big big tear drops. It felt cleansing. It was my way of falling down. Here are some photos I took and a short clip of the Rhythm.

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sabar drums

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short clip of the Rhythm

all photos & film ©Lynette Wich fotoartfar::mX::

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