Thursday, July 15, 2010

Into the Heart of the Sangoma

Ann's Into the Heart of the Sangoma
~ the story of how it came to be........

Credo Mutwa, Zulu Sangoma

Ann Mortifee
Vancouver singer/artist/performer extraordinaire
and how they met...........

I have always had a passion for Africa. One morning I "just happened" to turn on CBC Radio in time to catch an interview with Ann Mortifee, a Vancouver-based singer, composer and performer whose career I have watched since I saw her sing at seventeen, in the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. She was speaking of visions and dreams she had had, that had led her to a Sangoma shaman in Africa, and afterwards to create her album Into the Heart of the Sangoma.

[Among the Zulu, a sangoma is a healer and spiritual leader. Sangoma represents a journey of transformation and the evolution of consciousness, both of which Ann accomplished in her work with the sangoma.

She told the most incredible story of how this album came about. She kept dreaming of a wise old African woman, and the dreams kept giving her messages and songs.
Out of her dreams, she wrote a song about how the stars are holes in the sky of heaven, made by the plodding feet of oxen as they walk across the sky, making holes through which the light of Heaven can shine through.

Then, later, she was in a library and a book fell off the shelf in front of her - all by itself. She knew it was meant for her so she opened it and read the very same thing about the sky and the oxen, and that this was a Sangoma belief. The author wrote of a certain wise shaman, Credo Mutwa, whom Ann knew she had to learn more about.

She noted the author of the book and placed a telephone call to him. When he answered, she explained about the dreams, the song, the book, and that she was seeking to meet the shaman, Credo Mutwa. He told her, "This man has never come to my home before, but he is here right now, sitting in front of me. Would you like to speak to him?"

Synchronicities abound - or fate - or .....???????

Ann and the author talked for a few minutes, and he told her she must come to Africa so they could speak of these things.

So of course Ann bought the ticket. But when she got to Africa, the address , which she had kept carefully in her address book, suddenly was not there. She spent six weeks searching for the shaman, and then surrendered and accepted that she was not going to meet with him after all. All the time, she kept feeling grateful for all that had come to her as gifts so far. It was all "enough" just as it was.
Towards the end of her time in Africa, she went on a safari to a game farm. A wise old ancient she-elephant came right up to Ann, stood before her, waving her trunk, looking deep into Ann's eyes. She felt herself in the presence of an incredibly old and wise being, and experienced it as a visitation. That night she dreamed of the elephant and beside the elephant , in her dream, stood the old Sangoma woman Ann had kept dreaming of back home. In her dream, this woman told Ann, "Tomorrow you must go to (a name I dont remember, possibly another game reserve)." So Ann called next morning, and found (by now nothing surprised her) that there had been only one cancellation, and that Ann could have that ticket. In the tour guide's truck, as they were driving along, Ann saw a slip of paper on the floor. She read: "If you wish to make a journey to spirit, meet Credo Mutwa" (the name of the shaman she had been searching for!!!)

(I love all this!!!!)

When Ann met with the shaman, they and the village people all sang and danced together and she knew all the words and songs as if she had always known them (as she had, in whatever parallel universe/other life or whatever.) They the people asked Ann to sing a song for them and she sang the song she had composed back in Canada, about holes in the sky of heaven, that she had been given by the wise old woman in her dreams.

The shaman stopped her and asked her "where did you get this song?" Ann said she had made it up. He said, "You did not make it up. This song is the song we sing when we go to spirit."
So she told the shaman about the wise old woman in her dreams who had given her the song. The shaman asked her to describe this woman. Ann told him the woman had one brown eye and one white one and that her legs looked funny, like tree trunks.

The shaman said, "That is my grandmother. Cataracts turned one of her eyes completely white, and she had elephantitis in her legs. That is why they looked like tree trunks. My grandmother has brought you to me and for some reason known only to the Mystery, she wants you to have this." And he presented Ann with his grandmother's most prized possession." (Ann didnt say what it was, but  I later learned it was the old woman's walking stick.)

Ann said, closing the interview, "We are not alone here. There are spirits breathing all around us."


After this interview, my one goal was to buy the cd, which I did. And then one day, I just "happened" to pick up a Shared Vision magazine and was over-joyed to see Ann would be performing Into the Heart of the Sangoma soon. I knew I needed to get to the city to see that performance and I did. I saw it with my daughter-in-law Zenny, who was also amazed and riveted by the story. She told me "I HAD to see this tonight!"

Ann sang and performed the story of the Sangoma and what had led her to them. It was powerful and electrifying, and made one aware of just how much humans are capable of when they reach for their highest selves and tune into the Mystery.

That night was one of the highlights of my life. I carried the Sangoma with me for a long time afterward. I think I will go put it on the stereo now...........immerse myself once more in the Mystery and the ancient beauty of the African Sangoma.


  1. Now thats interesting! Especially the elephant, sherry blue ...

  2. I have just read this spell-binding ( for that is what it has done to me) interview and now I see the connection. Wow! Sangoma, Ann. There is another powerful story there. Spirits don't discriminate!


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