Singing Alive

I) Ayaruna cormi
shamurengi shimikai
mediconchi coromi
shamurengi shimikai
shamurengi shimikaiya…. (all of this X2)

II) bailaremos, danzaremos delantero
mi corona ayaruna coromi
shamurengi shimikai
shamurengi shimikaiya……

III) vueltai vueltai remonkinchi
sinchi sinchi mediconchi (These two lines X2)
kona chita mikaya
shamurengi shimikai
shamurengi shimikaiya….

from Sus Arnhart ~

I’ve heard the order go I, II, then III or alternately I, III, then II.

They’re both “right”, or were in the context where I learned this icaro.

This song is Quechua/Quichwa, and used in ceremonies. It was sung in Shipibo ceremonies as almost a “for fun” icaro.

Icaros in Shipibo are free-form and cannot be memorized or sung the same way twice. When healers are very on point they can sing together, but otherwise it’s difficult to ‘sing along’ to a Shipibo icaro. My teachers gave more respect to these malleable icaros because they describe what is present in the ceremony i.e. what work is being done on spiritual planes during the work. Because no two ceremonies are ever the same, the icaros are always different, although melodies, poetic stanzas, and themes are shared among a lineage.

So…. when a Quichwa/quechua song is sung in ceremony it’s kind of fun for all these shipibo shamans because the words are the same every time! for that reason, these ones are sung more lightly and it can be a very unifying and light part of the ceremonies.

No one ever told me word-for-word what this icaro means, but it is a pretty happy one. The gist I’ve gotten is that it is about the crowns (“coronas”) that come with dieting plants and are visible when one drink ayahuasca. “Shamu” means ‘come’. ‘Aya’ is ‘soul/spirit’, “runa” can mean ‘person/people’. I’ve always taken this to mean ancestor spirits. “mediconchi” is “medico” (‘healer/doctor/shaman” in Spanish) filtered through Quichwa phonemes and suffixes. So, overall, calling upon the crowns, healers, and spirit-folk. “Sinchi” is ‘strong’ in Quechua. “Vueltai” is spanish for “turn” (again, filtered through quichua/quechua phonemes/morphemes. “Remonkinshi” perhaps pertains to the word for whirlpool. “Bailaremos, danzaremos” is ‘let’s dance/we shall dance’ in Spanish.


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