Reahu He ã CD: Yanomami ceremonies and rituals
One of the Yanomami’s greatest ceremonies is reahu where communities come together in a ritual to honor a dead person. Preparations start at least a month beforehand when the host community hunts large quantities of game, which is smoked to last the duration of the feast. Manioc is grated and made in to bread, and bunches of bananas are hung from the rafters of the yano or communal house. Hosts and guests paint themselves with urucum (a red dye made by squashing anatto seeds into a paste). For about a week there is much singing and dancing.
This CD was recorded in the Yanomami community of Watoriki (the Windy Mountain) in Brazil. Some tracks are ceremonial dialogs, such as wãyamu where men from different communities exchange news. Others, called xapirimu, are songs performed by shamans who inhale yãkoana, a hallucinogenic snuff which enables them to communicate with the spirits of natural world, each of which has its own song.
At the end of the ceremony, as Davi Kopenawa Yanomami explains in his introduction, ‘all our families shout out in homage to the richness of our land and forest’.
This unique CD was co-produced by the Yanomami organisation Hutukara to raise funds for its projects.