SOAS University of London

Department of Music, School of Arts

Track: 4 Serga Pye

Serga is the most significant part of the death commemoration event, performed on the third and final day by pachyu shamans. In its entirety, it takes eight or more hours to complete, and involves some participation by the whole village community. It could be considered a final send-off for the deceased, since after it has ended, villagers will continue to drink and dance throughout the night.

At the beginning, between six and nine stand in a circle and play steady, damped bests on the double headed herga drum and cymbals. The tempo gradually increases. Next, the shamans dance in a slowly moving circle around a fixed axis, anti-clockwise, the clockwise, the two directions representing movement upwards and downwards. The shamans carry the soul of the dead to the upper worlds in anti-clockwise circles and return back to the human world as they dance in a clockwise direction.

A percussion cadence sounded three time concludes this section. Then the shamans, split into two groups facing each other, chant antiphonally. This is the part of the ritual that is recorded here: all nine shamans take part.