The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has affected every inch of global society, and Indigenous communities remain among the most neglected by governments across Latin America. The situation is especially dire in these localities since tribal elders are keepers of ancestral knowledge on language, spirituality and medicine, while also prone to higher mortality rates when infected with the virus. Villages in Colombia and Guatemala, once believed safe due to their isolated nature, have been feverishly pleading for guidance and resources since the pandemic began. And while the Shipibo-Konibo-Xetebo people in the Ucayali province of the Peruvian Amazon have also been severely impacted, the community has found support in unlikely allies: electronic music producers.
Behuá Icára – Ritmos Para Sanar is the first in a series of compilations coordinated by Peruvian electronic music collectives Casalocasa and Combustión, who tapped a wide array of homegrown and international producers to gather funds in support of the imperiled community. Deriving its name from the words ‘Behua,’ which translates to chants, and ‘Ícaros,’ which are specifically for healing; the compilation sources inspiration and revitalizing intent from the Shipibo-Konibo-Xetebo’s timeless practice of medicinal music. The album has been released as a Bandcamp exclusive with all proceeds donated to Coshikox, a local council protecting Indigenous autonomy and ensuring tourism and land cultivation practices remain sustainable.
Everywhere from the atmospheric machinations of Silvana Tello on “Paraje” to the collective catharsis of “Ave Fenix,” which features Lila Tirando a Violeta, Nick León and PRJCTN; Ritmos Para Sanar shines with traditional sounds reclaimed from global dance floors and returned to their ancestral purpose. However, the Shipibo-Konibo-Xetebo are much more than stylistic accessories for big city producers, contributing art and a number of chants to the compilation. An acapella from MC Shipibo was used in Toma Kami’s vivacious “Non Nete,” while ‘maestro del tabaco’ Pexe Nima shares a sacred chant for Capa de Cobre’s “Moleküle.” Orieta Chrem’s “Quincemil” includes an entrancing ícaro from Rawa and the album’s geometric cover was designed by Shipibo artist Lastenia Canayo. The rest of the compilation is stacked with hypnotic tracks from Dengue, Dengue, Dengue, Manongo Mujica & Terje Evensen, and many more, all embracing the healing and transcendent spirit of music.
Behuá Icára – Ritmos Para Sanar is out now.