• The ancestral forest: memory, space and ritual among the Kulunge Rai of the Eastern Nepal

      Nicoletti, Martino; University of Derby, School of Art and Design (Vajra Publications - Kathmandu, 2006)
      An ethnographic monography devoted to the religion of the Kulunge Rāi ethnic group of eastern Nepal. Bearing witness to a far-off past of hunting and nomadic life, Kulunge's myths and legends form a plot and scenario that comprise a multitude of invisible entities: the “hunter-spirits” and the “monkey spirits”, the undisputed sovereigns of the forest world; Laladum, the deity who resembles a little girl, the initiator of young shamans from the villages of the area; the Nagi, or ophidiomorphic-spirits, dwelling in the waters, the totem ancestors of the Kulunge Rāi group; Molu, a mythical forefather, lost in the woods and transformed into a deity. A journey through the oral memory, the sacred geography and religious imaginary of this people. An ideal itinerary that progressively abandons the inhabited world and enters the abysses of the mythical woodlands – the silent witnesses of the group’s ancient life style – only to lose itself in the thick of the immense forests that even today surround the settlements of the Kulunge Rāi.Starting from the cults of domestic deities, the research goes on to analyse the rituals that accompany the souls of the dead and the village farming cults, as a necessary step before dealing with the hunting cults and the hidden paths beaten by Kulunge Rāi shamans.
    • Chala Ra Dhatu: Newari percussions of the Kathmandu Valley

      Nicoletti, Martino; University of Derby, School of Art and Design (Firenze - Bologna: A-Buzz Supreme - Stenopeica, 2013)
      This CD presents a wide overview on the world of the Newari percussions as they are mainly widespread in the context of the Dapha musical tradition. Scientific researches, recording organisation and supervision: Martino Nicoletti and Rameswor Maharjan; Sound engineering and post-production: Roberto Passuti; Label: Stenopeica – A Buzz Supreme.
    • Charya: the tantric musical tradition of the Kathmandu Valley

      Nicoletti, Martino; University of Derby, School of Art and Design (Firenze - Bologna: A-Buzz Supreme - Stenopeica, 2013)
      This musical CD presents a wide overview of Charya, one of the lesser known sacred musical traditions of the Kathmandu valley. Rooted in esoteric Tantric Buddhist tradition (vajrayana), widespread among the Newar of Nepal, Charya songs represent an integral part of the Charya nrtya sacred dances, traditionally handed down and performed in Vajracarya Tantric spiritual lineages. Traditionally performed by initiated dancers in a highly secret context, these dances represent an authentic form of dynamic meditation (sadhana). Founded on the practice of specific mental visualisations and on a deep identification of the dancer with the specific meditation deity (yidam) evoked during the dance, Charya nrtya’s main aim is to achieve higher states of consciousness and a direct realisation of the ultimate, non-dual and empty nature of phenomena. In this sense, the peaceful and wrathful deities evoked and “danced” during the performance – belonging to both Buddhist and Hindu traditional pantheons – represent the direct personified expression of the ceaseless creative energy inherent in the Emptiness itself (sunyata). In this context, thanks to the magic power of the chant, the music and the dance, each performance is thus transformed into a veritable yogic practice aimed at propitiating the tangible manifestation of the most profound divine powers that inhabit and vivify the universe, as well as providing the dancer with a rare opportunity of realising directly the enlightened condition of his/her own mind. Kept secret until a few decades ago, only recently have Charya songs and the Charya nrtya dance tradition been made accessible to a non-initiated audience, including westerners. The CD, recorded in Kathmandu under the supervision of Dr. Martino Nicoletti, has been created thanks to the collaboration of Rameshwor Maharjan, an internationally renowned Newari Charya dancer and musician. Track 1: Sri Padma Nrtyasvara Vandana: hymn to the Lord of the Dance Track 2: Sodasa Lasya: the dance of the Sixteen Offering Goddesses to the main deity of the mandala Track 3: Arya Tara: the dance of the Green Tara Track 4: Vajrayogini: the dance of Vajravarahi, “The Diamond Sow” Track 5: Manjusri: the dance of the Bodhisattva Manjusri Track 6: Panca Buddha: the dance of the Five Buddhas Track 7: Kumari: the dance of the virgin goddess Kumari Track 8: Rakta Ganesh: the dance of the Red Ganesh Track 9: Sri Bhairav Kali: the dance of Bhairav and Kali Scientific researches, recording organisation and supervision: Martino Nicoletti; Sound engineering and post-production: Roberto Passuti; Label: Stenopeica – A Buzz Supreme.
    • Chaturman Rai: fotografo contadino dell'Himalaya

      Nicoletti, Martino; University of Derby, School of Art and Design (Edizioni Exòrma - Roma, 2010)
      Combining anthropological and aesthetical perspectives, the book presents original photographic work by Chaturman Rai, a wholly self-trained folk-photographer living in one of the remotest areas of the Himalayas.
    • The ecstatic body: notes on Shamanism and corporeity in Nepal

      Nicoletti, Martino; University of Derby, School of Art and Design (Vajra Publications - Kathmandu, 2008)
      Based on a series of ethnographic and photographic investigations carried out in Nepal between 2000 and 2007, this essay analyses the role of the body and corporeity in Himalayan shamanism, with special reference to the ecstatic condition. The book is enriched by a considerable set of colour photos taken by the author.
    • Gandharva: the magic sound of the Nepali Sarangi

      Nicoletti, Martino; University of Derby, School of Art and Design (Firenze - Bologna: A-Buzz Supreme - Stenopeica, 2013)
      The CD presents a series of sarangi solo executions inspired by a rich repertoire of traditional Nepali and Tibetan melodies, performed by Shyam Nepali: in this work the long-established music of the Gaine of Nepal blends with the very personal experimentation and intimate feelings of one of the most renowned innovative and sensitive musicians in the panorama of contemporary Nepali music. Track 01: Morning bliss Track 02: Himalayan dawn Track 03: Across the clouds Track 04: Waiting Track 05: Footprints in the snow Track 06: Soul’s vibe Track 07: The shaman’s flight Track 08: Melting water Track 09: Beauty revealed Track 10: Don’t turn your gaze behind Track 11: Back from the fields Scientific researches, recording organisation and supervision: Martino Nicoletti; Sound engineering and post-production: Roberto Passuti; Label: Stenopeica – A Buzz Supreme.
    • Kathmandu: disiecta membra

      Nicoletti, Martino; Passuti, Roberto; University of Derby, School of Art and Design (Bologna: Stenopeica; Firenze: A-Buzz Supreme, 2013-07-15)
      A musical CD of electronic music devoted to the Himalayan metropolis of Kathmandu. The CD, created by Martino Nicoletti and Roberto Passuti for the independent music label Stenopeica, contains 11 songs. Special guests are the Italian singers Giovanni Lindo Ferretti and Teresa De Sio.
    • "Kathmandu: lezioni di tenebre": un libro e della musica dedicata ad una metropoli dell’abisso ("Kathmandu: lessons of darkness": a book and a CD devoted to a metropolis of the abysses)

      Nicoletti, Martino; University of Derby, School of Art and Design (Centro Studi Orientali Roma, 2013-05-28)
      An article devoted to the publication of a book (poetry texts, photos and an attached musical CD) by Martino Nicoletti and devoted to the city of Kathmandu (Nepal).
    • Nomadi dell’invisibile: l’autosacrificio rituale del chöd nel Bön tibetano

      Nicoletti, Martino (Edizioni Exòrma - Roma, 2010)
      In the heart of the Himalayas, officiants belonging to Tibet’s ancient religion, Bön, undertake a long ritual pilgrimage through wild and inhospitable places inhabited by mountain deities, water genii, ferocious demons and dangerous ghosts. As the pilgrimage unfolds, having attracted the spirits’ attention with wildly provocative acts and evoking their presence by reciting a ritual text and the sound of magical musical instruments, the practitioners celebrate the meditative sacrifice of their own body (chöd), offered to a whole host of invisible beings as spiritual nourishment during a singular ritual banquet. Texts, diary excerpts and photos recount this archaic ritual, deeply rooted in the notion of Universal Compassion and chiefly aimed at severing the practitioner’s attachment to his physical body and overcoming identification with his own illusory ego. The work is also enriched by the sacred ritual text "The Secret Wisdom Ḍākinī" (Khandro Sangba Yeshe), translated for this volume by Geshe Gelek Jinpa, and by a DVD containing a short Super-8 film by the author, as well as the liturgical chöd chant performed by the monks of the bönpo monastery Triten Norbutse in Nepal.
    • The Nomadic sacrifice: the Chöd pilgrimage among the Bönpo of Dolpo (western Nepal)

      Nicoletti, Martino; University of Derby, School of Art and Design (Vajra Publications - Kathmandu, 2013)
      In the heart of the Himalayas, officiants belonging to Tibet’s ancient religion, Bön, undertake a long ritual pilgrimage through wild and inhospitable places inhabited by mountain deities, water genii, ferocious demons and dangerous ghosts. As the pilgrimage unfolds, having attracted the spirits’ attention with wildly provocative acts and evoking their presence by reciting a ritual text and the sound of magical musical instruments, the practitioners celebrate the meditative sacrifice of their own body (chöd), offered to a whole host of invisible beings as spiritual nourishment during a singular ritual banquet. Texts, diary excerpts and photos recount this archaic ritual, deeply rooted in the notion of Universal Compassion and chiefly aimed at severing the practitioner’s attachment to his physical body and overcoming identification with his own illusory ego. The work is also enriched by the sacred ritual text "The Secret Wisdom Ḍākinī" (Khandro Sangba Yeshe), translated for this volume by Geshe Gelek Jinpa, and by a DVD containing a short Super-8 film by the author, as well as the liturgical chöd chant performed by the monks of the bönpo monastery Triten Norbutse in Nepal.The book is the English edition of the work: Nicoletti, M., (2010), "Nomadi dell'invisibile: L’autosacrificio rituale del chöd nel Bön tibetano", Roma: Exorma.
    • Riddum: the sacred word of Sancha Prasad rai, shaman of the Himalayas

      Nicoletti, Martino; Gasgini, Fabrizio; University of Derby, School of Art and Design (Castelvecchi Editore - Roma, 2005)
      A book devoted to the mythology of the Kulunge Rai, an ethnic group settled in the East Nepal. The work is enriched by a large series of photos.
    • "Seeds of Sound in the Autumn of Power" : quattro cd dedicati alle musiche sacre dello Himalaya ("Seeds of Sound in the Autumn of Power": Four CDs devoted to the sacred musical heritage of the Himalayas)

      Nicoletti, Martino; University of Derby, School of Art and Design (Centro Studi Orientali Roma, 2013-04-14)
      An article devoted to the publication of four CDs belonging to the collection "Seeds of Sound in the Autumn of Power" (directed by Dr. Martino Nicoletti) and devoted to the sacred musical heritage of the Himalayas.
    • Shamans of the East: ritual songs of the Himalayan Kulung Shamanic Tradition

      Nicoletti, Martino; University of Derby, School of Art and Design (Firenze - Bologna: A-Buzz Supreme - Stenopeica, 2013)
      The CD presents two of the most characteristic liturgical songs still widespread in the shamanic tradition of the Kulung Tibeto-Burman minority of eastern Nepal. The first is an invocation of the shaman’s guardian spirits and guiding deities. Usually performed in the Nepali language at the beginning of each ecstatic Kulung shamanic séance, the song, in mentioning a vast host of invisible beings relating to specific cosmic regions (sky, earth, underworld) or places of the natural habitat (snowy mountains, wood, lakes, etc), is believed to possess the singular faculty of creating an invisible bridge between the officiant and the invisible world as well as helping the shaman himself in inducing a specific form of trance. This trance is a distinctive feature of any Kulunge shamanic ritual, and the efficacy of any séance is firmly rooted in the shaman’s ability to produce, control and direct it toward the specific goals of the rite. The second track is a hunting chant, usually performed in the ritual Kulung language on the occasion of the ritual offering of game to the tribe’s ancestors and the invisible spirit of the forest. Settled in one of the most remote and enchanting regions of eastern Nepal, the Kulung are one of the last Himalayan ethnic groups to hand down, even today, an archaic form of hunting of specific species of wild quadrupeds in the form of a complex and highly ritualised practice. According to Kulung tradition, the hunting expedition is preceded, accompanied and followed by various liturgical songs – sung in a sacred and secret ritual language – believed to possess the power of ingratiating the invisible entities of the wilderness, propitiating the hunt and facilitating the obtainment of an “invisible essence” (ji), hidden in the thick of the forest, on which the prosperity of the village is deemed to depend, as well as the vital force and health of its people. A recurrent theme of these songs is the account of the mythical hunt for an invisible archetypal stag and the description of the mystic journey accomplished by the souls of the hunters – here acting in a double role as huntsmen and priests – in search of prosperity and invisible strength. Both these qualities are concealed in specific “power sources” spread throughout the forest where the hunt takes place and scattered over the its studded mountain peaks. The songs on this CD are superbly performed by Mekhe Kulung, one of the most renowned contemporary shamans of the Kulung tribe. Track 1: Ritual hunting song Track 2: Invocations to invisible masters and protector spirits Scientific researches, recording organisation and supervision: Martino Nicoletti; Sound engineering and post-production: Roberto Passuti; Label: Stenopeica – A Buzz Supreme.