Ayahuasqueros: A Trip on Nowness.com.

"Enchanting tribal songs lead Canadian anthropologist Jeremy Narby and French filmmaker and Soundwalk founder Stephan Crasneanscki through the psychedelic ayahuasca experience, in this clip from Ayahuasqueros: Recordings from the Amazon, Peru."

Crasneanscki: Ayahuasqueros was the idea of going up the river of the Amazon, deeper and deeper into the forest… I’m a newcomer. I arrived here because Radio France asked me to embark on a project about poetry—poetry in its active form, not a dead poetry. I thought that the icaros, the songs of the ayahuasca ceremony, were a form of poetry, a poetry that’s alive and has a function in society today.

 An icaros is a melody that an ayahuasca shaman gets from his or her visions. In their visions these practitioners see what they consider to be the essence of living beings, of plants and animals, which is a melody. If you can learn that melody by singing along with it as you perceive it in your visions then you can see like these entities, and gain their knowledge and power. That’s what these icaros are: songs of knowledge and power. You judge the knowledge of a shaman by the number of number of icaros that he or she has, just like you judge a university professor by the number of books that he or she has published.

 For me the icaros has something really special in the quality of the voices, the rhythm and rhyme. It’s all a cappella, there are no instruments. It’s extremely pure. It has a vibration, initially in the ear, that really takes you on a journey. Icaros is what you use to ride through the experience of Ayahuasca.

The melody works as a kind of lifeline that you can grab onto if you’re drowning in your visions. It’s true that these are songs of drunkenness and they are made to navigate drunkenness, so you can only fully appreciate their effect if you are yourself in that modified state of consciousness, and they are precisely tools for finding your way in that discombobulating space.

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