Gardening the Mind | Sounds from Xingu: Indigenous Ethnographers in Brazil

Publication Date 13 Jan 2021

A listening session curated by sound artist, performer and composer Nathaniel Mann, who has been working closely with the artists and ethnographers of the Wauja and Kuikuro communities.

In this special evening, we will be transported to the Xingu Indigenous Territory in the Brazilian Amazon. In an immersive listening session we will experience a Kuikuro Bathing Ritual, as documented by filmmaker Takumã Kuikuro, a ritual song from Akari Waura, and community music from the Wauja Village.


Takumã Kuikuro is a Kuikuro filmmaker based in the Ipatse village. Following his training through Brazil’s well-known NGO programme ‘Video in the Villages’, he has received international attention and acclaim for his films. In 2017 he worked with a team of technicians from Factum Foundation who went to the village with 3D scanning systems, a drone, ambisonic recording devices and a selection of cameras for imaging and photogrammetry. Since this time he has been working closely with People’s Palace Projects to develop a virtual reality work that was first displayed at the Horniman Museum in London in December 2018.

Piratá Waurá is a teacher, photographer and filmmaker of Waurá ethnicity. He lives in the Piyulaga village in the Xingu Indigenous Territory, located in the northeast of the State of Mato Grosso, Brazil. His father is Kamo Waurá, a former huka-huka fighter, (a traditional fighting sport that is very old and continues to be practiced by his people), and shaman who communicates with the spirits of the forest, water, and animals and takes care of the health of the people in the village. His mother is Yakakumalu Waurá, a woman who has the gift of making ceramic pots, an ancient and traditional knowledge of thier people, which has been passed on from generation to generation.

Piratá’s passion for photography started when he fell in love with his own culture. “I observed the experiences of my people, like the rituals of our culture , which are a form of communication with the spirits . It is very important to record my people's feelings, knowledge and history."

Akari Waurá is a musician, historian and a leadership representative of the Wauja community. He lives at Piyulaga, the main Wauja village in the Xingu Indigenous Territory. Inheriting the talent and knowledge of his ancestors, Akari is a renowned musician of the Upper Xingu. He has been participating in teaching activities across the Xingu Indigenous Territory, in villages where the musical knowledge is almost extinct. He currently collaborates on the Project Wauja Onapa (Wauja Songs) as teacher, a project presented by the Indigenous Association Tulukai, of the Piyulaga village, with the financial support of ISA (Instituto Socioambiental), focused on the teaching and documentation of songs of the main rituals and practices of Wauja culture. Akari was the host of the residency of the British musician Nathaniel Mann (project Musicians in Residency, promoted by the British Council), in 2018, sharing his knowledge and songs. As a result, Akari recorded with Nathaniel the album Akari Wauja: Wauja Songs from the Upper Xingu, which was released on Antigen Records. An active member of the community, Akari collaborates in projects of indigenous cultural conservancy, sharing the stories and paths of Wauja’s ancestors through the Tamitatoala / Batovi River, especially the Kamukuwaká Cave. Since 2018, he cooperates with Factum Foundation on the documentation and conservation of the Kamukuwaká Cave. Akari has performed on BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction, and featured in the BBC Radio 4 Documentary The Orchestra and the Rainforest.

Nathaniel Mann is an experimental composer, performer and sound designer. Oscillating between music and sound, Mann has a compositional practice that is expansive in scope and varied in form. He takes on many roles in his work, including researcher, instrument-maker, archive-digger, surround-sound designer, filmmaker, broadcaster, storyteller, producer, curator, entrepreneur, sonic-artist and folksinger. He is also one third of the experimental folk ensemble, Dead Rat Orchestra.

Mann writes and presents feature documentaries for BBC Radio 3 & 4, so far each of his programmes have been selected as "Pick of the Week". He was awarded the Paul Hamlyn Award 2019, Arts Foundation Fellow 2018 and his work Pigeon Whistles (2013), a flying orchestra of flute-carrying Birmingham Roller pigeons, won the George Butterworth Prize for Composition in 2015.

Gardening the Mind - Events Season

This event is part of Gardening the Mind, a new season of online events focusing on mental health, conceived through the metaphor of the mind as a garden that we all need to collectively and continuously tend to.

Format Zoom recording
Related Artists Nathaniel Mann, Takumã Kuikuro, Piratá Waurá, Akari Waurá
Related Event Gardening the Mind (A season of online events 2020-21)

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