“The voice is the fingerprint of the soul – there are no two alike.”
We sat down with artists Poranguí and Sahuna Love to hear about the inspiration behind their new release, Ancestors (Shamans Dream & Poranguí Remix) from their new album, Ayahuasca Remixed with Desert Trax label.
If you haven’t crossed paths already, Poranguí is a renowned musician, healer, and creative, with over fifteen years of international work experience as an artist, musician, educator, filmmaker, consultant and therapist; utilizing the healing properties of sound and movement to foster our individual and collective well being.
At the forefront of the yoga, festival, and ecstatic dance music scene since ‘95, Sahuna Love (of Shaman’s Dream) is a multi-percussionist (and multi-talented!) music, festival and retreat producer, performer and DJ.
They’ve merged creative forces in the unforgettable – and unforgiving – climes of Sedona, Arizona to bring their vision to life; borne as Ayahuasca Remixed with Desert Trax.
Ready to feel moved? Here’s what they had to say…
You’ve both been in Sedona working on the just-released remix project of Poranguí’s album Ayahuasca – please tell us about the project, the release and how you both came to be working together.
Poranguí: Sahuna and I met back at Lightning in a Bottle two years ago and immediately hit it off. I had an intuition that we needed to do something important together. Little did I know at the time, I had been tracking his music since Kerala Dream ~ an album that has been woven into my healing practice for years. When he mentioned the name of his musical project I was beyond elated at the synchronicity. The rest is now becoming history.
You also created a remix which is the lead track on the album, which positively shines with atmosphere and inspires movement with excellent rhythms. Poranguí, it seems to me that vocals play an important part in your music, is that something you can expand upon ?
Poranguí: The voice is the fingerprint of the soul ~ there are no two alike. For me there is profound medicine and intimacy that is given music when sharing our most vulnerable instrument – the voice. It immediately communicates so much in a single note that is beyond words. In the original Ayahuasca soundtrack, I had to abstain from using my voice as the music was scored for film and dialogue. In the Ayahuasca Remixed project, I was given a chance to open up more and impart another layer of depth & meaning to the songs. This was specifically on the two remixes I collaborated on, Ancestors (Shamans Dream, Poranguí Remix) & Ayahuasca (Liquid Bloom, Poranguí Remix) where I wrote and sang new lyrics to further the prayer of the songs.
Please tell us about the original album; what was your intention behind it and where did you record the various parts of it?
Poranguí: The album started when I was asked to score the soundtrack to a documentary film by Mitch Schultz (DMT: The Spirit Molecule) that would dive deeper into the world of mother Ayahuasca and the experience westerners have when embarking on their own healing quest. My friend Aubrey Marcus was the executive producer and had invited me to be present for the filming before I knew I would be the person scoring. As is often the case, I took my field recording equipment to the Amazon and proceeded to capture the ceremonies and jungle over the course of two weeks. A month after our return, they approached me with the invitation to weave the musical tapestry for the film, as they felt I had the best combination of musical expertise, cross-cultural perspective and spiritual awareness to bridge the unique message to a greater audience.
As I sat with the field material and the film, it became clear to me that the music would need to bridge worlds much like the consciousness of the master plant herself. The intention was born to create a sonic tapestry that would help bring lucidity, understanding and integration to the myriad experiences so many are having today with Ayahuasca.
What is your musical background?
Poranguí: To answer this question completely would be a long and windy road that I will save for another time. My musical roots come from my cultural heritage born to a Brazilian mother who is a singer and a Chicano father who is a guitarist & percussionist. Each of them had a deep love for music from across the Americas ~ especially the indigenous & folk songs of our ancestors. This steeped me in sounds from many cultures and in numerous languages since birth and informs my music to this day. My formal training didn’t come until my studies at Duke University followed by a period as member of Osunlade’s (Yoruba Records) live band. To this day, my most impactful lessons in music have been gifted by other generous musicians and masters who took the time along the way to impart wisdom or ridicule.
The title is Ayahuasca; if someone has decided to follow a path to experience this medicine then what advice could you both offer them?
Poranguí: Know who you are sitting with, their lineage and how the medicine is being harvested (sustainably or not). Many unqualified practitioners, road-men/road-women are called to carry and administer this sacrament after having very little experience. This is becoming more the norm as more people are aware of Ayahuasca and its potentially positive life-changing implications. Sometimes this motivation arises out of good or bad intentions and can cause profound suffering to unknowing participants. This medicine is equivalent to psychic surgery. Would you let just anyone with a scalpel work on your soul?
The other major advice is choosing to sit with medicine people who take care to not over-harvest the plants and who practice restorative agriculture replanting. The sad reality is that as more people are called to this path, the growing demand is placing an incredible stress on the native habitat from over-harvesting. Learn where the medicine comes from and how it is being replenished or not. This was a major insight & request from mother Ayahuasca as I was choosing to put my energy behind a film that would further spread her to the world.
Lastly, make sure you sit with people who emphasize integration. This is the most overlooked and undervalued part of following this medicine path. If the facilitator(s) don’t offer it, then look elsewhere and/or make sure you give yourself time to integrate the experience fully. This way it doesn’t become another peak experience that you quickly forget, but rather an embodied wisdom that you live and breathe.
In a ritual or spiritual setting what role can sound or song play, and in your views is it best if it is acoustic?
Poranguí: I feel it is often an essential element for any ritual or spiritual setting – this is why you see music woven through nearly every ceremony and ritual around the world. Music has the power to penetrate the listener unlike anything else. It vibrates the very cells on one’s being, facilitating a transformative process that is the ultimate goal in most spiritual/ritual settings.
Recorded music is ultimately dead. Nothing ever can replace the magic in a live performance – though VR and rising technologies will try. Something visceral and palpable happens with a live performance of music or dance – both temporal art forms that unfold in the present moment. This quality has a magic that connects with and is informed by the very energy in the space, the listeners and the seen and unseen realms. It is this magic that gives us goosebumps and a sense of reverence like nothing else. The advent of recorded music, computers and now light-boxes in our pockets has made our world less appreciative of this ancient magic. The DJ has become a postmodern phenomenon for making music “alive” again through the performance or re-contextualization of recorded sound. By responding again to the present moment, the music takes on this magic again to some degree.
In a ceremony or ritual, I would say go live whenever possible.
Sahuna – we understand that you selected the remixers to work with on this project – please tell us a bit about why you chose who you did.
Sahuna: I drew upon our close family of producers that we have done several other projects with through the years. The main focus was picking people that we felt understood the medicine path and could express the energy of love, healing and transformation that lives within the medicine and the intention of the music.
Both of you, musically right now what is your passion?
Poranguí: Another difficult question to answer briefly. My passion is igniting passion in others. Whether through music performances, healing retreats or private clients, I am constantly reminded how much I love to watch people become activated and awakened to their own great potential. Our beautiful Earth needs us all more than ever to be fully awake and empowered to take action as stewards and Earth-keepers.
Sahuna: My passion is to work with Poranguí and produce my next Shamans Dream Album – Earth Keepers. It’s been 5 years since my last album “Prana Pulse”. It’s time to come out with the expanded expression that I am now. I’ll be going to my roots as a drummer and percussionist and bringing forth the powerful healing energy that is at the core of my being.
If you could go to any place and time in the history of music then where would you travel to and why?
Poranguí: I would go back to Australia and spend time in the outback learning how to pray and play the didgeridoo from our relatives playing all of creation into existence.
Sahuna: I would go back to West Africa and deeply embody all the rhythms, dances, songs and rituals that were used for every activity in life.
Do you both have a daily practice to stay healthy and grounded ? If so please let us know what you do…
Poranguí: There are many things and they change when on tour or at home – but in general: I eat mostly plant-based and clean well sourced food and micro-nutrients. I start every day off with a superfood smoothie. Bring the mind to stillness and quiet as much as possible ~ otherwise when I can’t, I play music. Whenever I am on my way somewhere or washing dishes, or in the bathroom I am singing, beatboxing or having fun with sound in some way. For me it is the best medicine I know to get my monkey mind to stop and get myself into a flow state.
Dance – movement – whether exercise or simply shaking yourself out – be sure to move your body. This is especially essential in our technological age where we can spend far too much time staring at screens. Balance this with walks, jumping and good belly-laughs.
Connect to nature. Don’t buy a “grounding-mat”, just take your shoes off and walk outside. Get on the earth and remember that you are an embodied human ~ celebrate the blessings to have a body with all its perfect imperfections.
Sahuna: Prayer, dance, nature and community.
Please finish this sentence: “Music is…”
Poranguí: Music is medicine. It is the most potent expression of the inexpressible – in its lowest form it can drive us into madness, while in its highest it can weave the very story of our collective origin and destiny into something we can be inspired to live in the now.
Sahuna Love (left) and Porangui (right)
Wow. Thank you, Poranguí and Sahuna Love for sharing your wisdom and insights – much appreciated!
Interested in learning more about how a carefully curated playlist can inspire and guide your yoga practice?
Try it out – on us!