Painting by Reshin Bima, Icaro sung by Maestra Nihue Rama


During the ceremony, the maestros see the music. The design or “kené” is music. The color and movement (of the designs) is music. To make a kené is like drawing the music.

- Maestro Armando Cerrano

Icaros (from icarai the word in the Quechua language which means “to blow”) are powerful chanting songs, which are whistled or sung for healing purposes. The kené designs seen in Shipibo art are an illustration of the underlying energetic patterns that make up the universe and exist within all living beings.


Illnesses can be seen as breaks or holes in this pattern. When in ceremony, the healing power of ayahuasca and other plant medicines is transmitted through the Maestro’s icaro, which is sung to repair broken energetic patterns and restore wholeness.