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Voices of the Orishas

Voices of the Orishas - Image Produced by Alvaro Perez Betancourt.
37 min. Color. 1994.
Available as: VHS and DVD
Captioned: No
Catalog #: 0108
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Sale Price: $225.00 Buy VHS Buy DVD

This innovative ethnographic documentary demonstrates the survival and strength of the Yoruba cultural and religious heritage in the contemporary life of Caribbean African-Hispanics.

Filmed in Havana among Afro- Cubans who practice Santeria (African spiritism), the video documents an important Guemilere, a ritual ceremony that features dancing, singing, praying, and drum beating, and in which the pantheon of 22 deities, or Orishas, of the Yoruba religion are invoked. The ceremony re-creates a seminal Yoruba myth featuring the demigods Shango, Oggun, and Oya; through it Santero initiates render homage to the gods, ask for guidance in matters involving birth and death, and request permission to initiate new Santeros into the religion.

This informative and thought-provoking documentary will engage student interest and generate discussion in classes in cultural anthropology, African studies, Latin American and Caribbean studies, and comparative religion. It is essential viewing in any course dealing with the African Diaspora. It was produced by Alvaro Perez Betancourt.


"Colorful, compelling, and visually engaging.... In my undergraduate teaching I have seen how it can make the mythology of Santeria come alive. I recommend it for any class looking at Afro-American religions or culture in a comparative way." -- Janet Hoskins, Prof. of Anthropology, University of Southern California


  • "People's Choice Award," Global Africa Film Festival
  • American Anthropological Assn. selection



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