Monday, June 16, 2014

Brazilian Songs & Dances For Iansã (Yansã, Oya)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases nine examples of Brazilian songs & dances for the orixa (orisa/orisha) Iansã (Oya).

Information about Oya (Iansa/Yansa) in Candomble (Santeria) is also provided in this post.

The content of this post is provided for religious, folkloric, cultural, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Maferefun Oya. Thanks to all vocalists, musicians, and dancers who are featured in this post. Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post. In addition, thanks to the publishers of these YouTube sound files and videos.

Iansan (Iansã in Portuguese) is a spirit entity, or Orisha (Orixá), of the Afro-Brazilian religious faith Candomblé. Iansan is the Orisha of the winds, hurricanes and tempests. She lives at the gate of the graveyard, and has dominion over the realm of the Dead. Her name in English means "mother of nine (children).".
She is sincretized with Saint Barbara and particularly known with her association with the colour red and the salute "Epahei"."...
Iansan (Iansã) = Yansa (Yanza; Yanzan)

"Epahei" is a Yoruba word that is also given as "Epparrei", "Eparrey", "Epa hei", "Epa Hey" and similar spellings. That exclamation means something like "Praises to ___"
[Information from -comment: Ana Arcanjo, 2014
"Hey guys! Just to let you know: the lyrics [in that featured Brazilian record] are not in Português. They are actually in Yoruba, an African ancient language that is spoken in the Afro-Brazilian religion called Umbanda or Candomblé. Eparrei, babá means something like: praise Our Lord.""

Oya topic posted Tue, January 18, 2011 - 1:25 PM by Ged
"Oya, known also as Iansan (Mother of Nine) is the Santeria Queen of the Dead, Goddess of Winds and Storms and Lightning, Guardian of the Gates of the Cemetery, Deity of commercialism and markets, mother of the Ibellies (depending on the house),

Oya is a great warrior. She was the wife of Ogun, and a paramour of Shango. She was seduced by Shango, and is part of the reason of their age old feud. Oya and Shango have battled against each other many times, and so have she and Ogun, and neither was able to best her in battle. Though she could not beat them, she was able to stand toe-to-toe with them in both martial and magical prowess.

She is depicted as a woman dressed in many colors, for she is marked by 9 colors (no black), which represent her nine children. Originally a river goddess in Africa (of the Niger river), when Africans arrived in Cuba they syncretized her with the violent storms and hurricanes of the Caribbean, due to her tempestuous and fiery nature. She is syncretized with the spark that leads the lightning bolt to Earth, something that was not discovered until late in the 20th century. She is the lightning, the fiery whip that Olofi wields to strike at the Earth...

It is said that because Shango, her lover, resides in the Palm tree, lightning never strikes it. Paired with Shango, they are the lightning and thunder. She is also a great sorceress, and can spit fire because she tasted the magical concoction that Shango prepared in his magacal mortar"...

Alchemical Axé Hieros Gamos in Brazilian Candomblé Rites by Kris Katsuko Oster
..."Building and transferring axé, the energy or life force that courses through all of creation, are the central intentions of Candomblé rituals. Although axé is invisible and cannot be viewed with ordinary “seeing” or the eyes, it exists in the dancer’s movement, the drums’ rhythms, the colors of the ritual garments, and the herbs scattered on the floor of the terreiro Subtle and intangible, axé can be sensed in the natural world through intense heat or gentle, cool breezes blowing across your brow.

Orixás rule over the elements, and through trance-possession become doorways to both experiencing and observing axé in artful motion. All of nature—including flora, fauna, rocks, mountains, rivers—is sacred and alive with axé. Art and musical instruments, such as drums, sculpture and ritual garments pulsate with the sacred energy of axé.

Candomblé devotees strive to be in alignment with universal forces. The harmony of nature, culture, family and a person’s psychological and physical health depend on a cosmological balance of feminine and masculine attributes.

Candomblé initiation rites are comparable to oppositional elements found in the Jungian alchemical process of individuation. For example, the opposition between “hot” and “cool” is eloquently laid out by Paul Christopher Johnson in Secrets, Gossip and Gods: The Transformation of Brazilian Candomblé, who claims that the coolness of women and the heat of men are cosmological truths in the Candomblé worldview. Besides gender, “hot” and “cool” are descriptions given to orixás, food, animals, the elements (earth, air, fire and water) and colors:

female: earth and water: white: “coolness”: primordial mass::
male: sky and fire: red/black: “heat”: individual creation.
(Johnson 40)

While female orixás are considered “cool” and male orixás are considered “hot,” there is no finite categorical system that everything fits neatly into. For example, Iansã is considered a “hot” orixá, in spite of being female, and Oxalá, the father of the orixás, is “cool” (Johnson 40)....

Sight, sound, smell, taste and touch–every sense is engaged in the rites of Candomblé. These aesthetics permeated my soul.”…
axé = ase, ashe From "Ashe, which is also spelled "Ase", "Axe," "Axé," "Aché," or "Ache," is the life-force that runs through all things, living and inanimate. Ashe is the power to make things happen. It is an affirmation which is used in greetings and prayers, as well as a concept about spiritual growth."...

orixas= orisa [orishas]

Iansã = Yansa

Oxalá = Obatalá

Iemanjá =Yemanjá [who is also mentioned in this article]
Additional information about the orixa (orisa/orisha) Iansã (Oya) is found in some of the summaries and comments of the featured YouTube examples found below.

These examples are presented in chronological order based on their posting date on YouTube, with the oldest examples given first.

Example #1: Saudação a grande guerreira IANSÃ

pcassanha1, July 10, 2008
myatatecons, 2009
Obrigado minha mãe Yançã Por todas as bençãos e felicidades que tenho tive e terei. Continue atuando em minha vida. Um abraço a todos os meus irmãos filhos de Yançã e todos os umbandistas de verdade conhecedores e cemeadores do amor, da paz e da caridade. Salve todos os Orixas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

English translation from Portuguese: [Google Translate]
Thank my mother Yanca For all the blessings and happiness that I have had and will have. Continue working in my life. A hug to all my brothers and children of all Yanca umbandistas real connoisseurs and cemeadores of love, peace and charity. Save all Orishas!!!!!!!!!!!!

Example #2: yansã eparrei oya

josealves santana Uploaded November 27, 2009

Example #3: Rita Ribeiro e Maria Bethânia - Iansã

RITA RIBEIRO, uploaded on May 8, 2010


Estefânia Granero , April 4, 2011
I think the English translation of this title is "Plea for protection [from] beautiful Oya"

Example #5: Acarajé de Iansã Video 4

Tony Obá Ojuteran Almeida December 23, 2011
"Acarajé is the most popular street food in the north eastern state of Brazil, Bahia. The recipe for acarajé was introduced to Bahia by slaves who came from Nigeria during the colonial period. In Nigeria acarajé is named Akara, and the women who sell it call out "Akara je", which means "Come and eat Akara" in Yoruba."...

Example #6: Acarajé de Iansã Video 6

Tony Obá Ojuteran Almeida, December 24, 2011

Example #7: IANSÃ - Margareth Menezes e Daniela Mercury -oya por nos

luiz237, Sept 14, 2012

Click for a lengthy comment about Iansa in Portuguese including this excerpt :
"Oya a deusa do Rio Niger, e representada com um alfange e uma cauda de animal nas maos e com um chifre de bufalo na cintura. Na mitologia ioruba, Xango casou-se com tres de-suas irmas deusas de rio: Oya, Oxum, deusas do rio Osun e Oba, deusa do rio Oba… "

[Google translate from Portuguese to English:
"Oya the goddess of the River Niger, and represented with a cutlass and a tail of animal [in maos e ?] with a buffalo horn at the waist. In Yoruba mythology, Shango married three of his sisters- river goddesses: Oya, Oshun, goddess of the Osun river and Oba, Oba river goddess".....

Example #8: IANSA XANGO Monobloco

SENZALA DE UMBANDA, Published October 19, 2012

Julia Ramos, 2013
Salve mamãe Iansã
Save [me/us] mother Yansa [Google translate from Portuguese to English]
I think this means "Save me/us Mother Yansã."

Example #9: Salve Iansa

SENZALA DE UMBANDA, Published Oct 20, 2012

Viviane C M Leite, 2014
"Yansã reigns over Wednesdays. She's the master of thunders and lightnings, the Queen of the storms... who encourages and promotes changes...she's the mighty warrior in every women."

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment The Practical Shaman. And thank goodness for YouTube and all those around the world who publish cultural videos on it!