Icaro is a South American indigenous colloquialism for magic song. Today, this term is commonly used to describe the medicine songs performed in vegetal ceremonies, especially by shamans to induce a profound state of healing, awareness or amazement. Icaro is most commonly used to describe the medicine songs used by shamans in healing ceremonies. Traditionally, these songs can be performed by whistling, singing with the voice or vocables, or playing an instrument such as the didgeridoo or flute, and usually involve a mastery of advanced techniques to evoke the healing effects. Traditionally, icaros may come to a shaman during a ceremony, be passed down from previous lineages of healers, or come to a shaman during a 'dieta' where plant spirits are believed to teach icaros to the shaman directly. The singing or whistling of icaros is sometimes accompanied by a chakapa, a rattle of bundled leaves. Due to the complexity of certain performance techniques, it may take many years to learn certain icaros, and experienced shamans may be able to recite hundreds of them.
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