In his classic Ecstatic Religion: A Study of Shamanism and Spirit Possession, I. M. Lewis (1971) contends that ritual, belief, and spiritual experience are the three cornerstones of religion, with the third certainly being the most important. Although disputed, this thesis strongly resonates with trends and themes currently taken up by gallerists and exhibition curators. Last year saw the launch of two major exhibitions on the topic of ecstasy: one at the Musée d’ethnographie de Genève (MEG) in Switzerland entitled Afrique: Les religions de l’extase (Africa: The ecstatic religions) and the other one simply called EKSTASE (Ecstasy) at the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart in Germany.
Capitalism originated first in the city-states of Renaissance Italy and grew to become a world system with trade, industrialization, and colonialism (Braudel 1982; Arrighi  2010). Thus, capitalism encompasses core centuries of the development of Western classical music and the transformation of classical and folk musics across the world under colonialism and modernity. However, research on music and its relationship to capitalism remains limited and focuses more on popular music and cultural industries. This is due to deeply rooted notions about “high” and “low” arts and “art” versus “commercial” music. The 1938 searing indictment of mass culture as an instrument of capitalist oppression by the musicologist, composer, and leading Frankfurt theorist Theodor Adorno also carries a strong responsibility (indeed, it was Adorno who coined the term “cultural industries,” giving it a strongly pejorative meaning ).