Grant #249

Songs of the Vine

June 19, 2017

Prescription for the soul: Medicine songs via virtual reality.

Native to the Ucayali region of the Peruvian Amazon, the Shipibo are the protectors of the rainforest, practitioners of plant spirit shamanism, and masterful artists of song. Unfortunately, the Shipibo face marginalization in the wake of Westernization and environmental destruction, which is why an increasing number of Shipibo healers are eager to share their ancient traditions with the world.

Inspired by their first-hand experience of the Shipibo healing practices, Oakland-based filmmakers Maira Clancy and Blake Montgomery created a documentary about the healing modalities, cosmovision, and culturally deep-rooted traditions. Well, they didn’t just document some of the traditions. They made a virtual reality experience called Songs of the Vine! Rad. A central element of the documentary is the ikaro — the traditional medicine song which is central to Shipibo culture and typically sung to cure mental, physical, and emotional trauma. Get ready. They are going to transport you to the Amazon jungle to experience the ikaros and to learn about sacred plant medicine from the perspective of Shipibo healers.

The Awesome Without Borders grant will go towards audio equipment able to withstand the extreme environmental conditions of the Amazon jungle and record the ikaros in pristine quality. Stay ‘tuned’ for your first virtual reality ikaro! In the meantime, here’s the 360° trailer (remember to click on the video and drag to look all around you)!



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