The concept of illness and music therapy among members of Iyayi society of the Esan, Edo State of Nigeria

  • CO Aluede
  • OS Omoera
Keywords: Music therapy, illness, healing and spirit possession.


The healing effect of music on human beings is very significant in most parts of the world. However, not much has been done by African researchers to study music and the ailments it heals especially among the peoples of Nigeria. This study uses the case study approach to examine the therapeutic effect of music in Iyayi society of Esan community, Edo state of Nigeria. The concept of illness, illness causation, the healing system and the specific songs and music used in the healing of some ailments are investigated. It was found that music in Nigerian society is used as a therapeutic medium as well as accompaniment to healing rites. The study concludes that Iyayi songs hold much promise for the development of pan African music therapy and as such should be notated. Iyayi songs are of immense benefits in the treatment and management of labour pains, insomnia and general debilities.

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eISSN: 1117-4315