Can you just tell us or describe what Orisha music is?
Amma McKen: Orisha music has many different levels. Orisha music can be sung a cappella without instrumentation. Orisha music starts with prayer and invocation. I would say that that is the main point of what it is all about. It’s prayer. It’s, “Iyere Pipa”, long prayers, prayers, and flattery. When one is trying to speak to an element and you are flattering — you’re speaking to the sun, the sun, “Oh you are so beautiful today. The warmth that I feel from you warms my soul. It brightens me. It gives me energy. It gives me vitality. It gives me sustenance.” I receive vitamins from the sun, all of the different elements relating to the sun in flattery, in thanks, that’s how the music starts. It starts with invocation and prayer. And that doesn’t necessarily have to have a drum, a bell, a sakara, a bata, a dundun, any of the instruments. And that is one of the main things that I tell — because in the classes that I teach I say, you know, “It’s important. I’m going to teach you this song