Tulku is a group with constantly shifting membership gathered around multitalented musician and producer Jim Wilson. Wilson has worked with many of the most important figures in contemporary Native American music — Robbie Robertson, the Little Wolf Band, Walela, Joanne Shenandoah, Primeaux and Mike.

Wilson’s work has centered on intriguing cross-cultural musical collaborations — with Russian psychiatrist Olga Kharitidi on Siberian shamanism, with Consuelo Luz on ancient Sephardic prayers and traditional love songs in Ladino, with James Twyman on peace prayers from world religious traditions. He has worked musically with spoken word material from Timothy Leary, Alan Ginsberg, and Timothy Wyllie.

Tulku has been part of this same collaborative process, mixing techno-beat, trance-ambient, and global musical traditions and voices. The first album, Trancendence, featured guest artists Jai Uttal, Geoffrey Gordon, and Krishna Das. Three years later, Season of Souls included performances by Krishna Das, Primeaux and Mike, Mamek Khadem, and Steve Snow. Most recently, A Universe to Come brought back original members Jai Uttal and Geoffrey Gordon, along with Consuelo Luz, Gina Sala, Sita Jamieson, and — note the detail of a Pablo Amaringo painting on the album cover — Shipibo shaman Benjamin Mahua.

A brief excerpt of Mahua singing an unaccompanied icaro is found on the album Para Cantarle al Río by Correo Aéreo, a duo consisting of Abel Rocha and Madeleine Sosin, who sing traditional music of Venezuela, Mexico, Argentina, and Peru. The album is the sound track for a film on the Shipibo, apparently commissioned by the Seattle International Childrens Festival. I do not know what ever happened to this film; does anyone have any information?

Here is don Benjamin solo:

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And here is don Benjamin’s singing as adapted by Tulku:

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Also, Tulku has produced the following video for the same version of don Benjamin’s icaro:

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