These Chakapas are handmade in the amazonian jungle in Peru, where they are used as a rhythm and healing instrument. It is a bundle of leaves from the olyra latifolia plant, which make a hypnotic and soothing rattling sound when shaken.
Traditionally it is used by the shaman during ayahuasca ceremonies when icaros are also sung to help call in the spirit helpers.
The sound is said to comfort patients during the ceremony and can assist in “cleansing” the energy surrounding the patient. Shamans have a large variety of movements that create different sounds and energy waves.
It is said that once the shaman has caught any bad spirits in the Chakapa, it is then blown out through the leaves into the forest. There any negative energy is taken in by the trees and plants and dispersed in the purifying love of Mother Nature.
Before using the Chakapa, it needs to be humidified. It is dehydrated and flattened before shipping, so the leaves and stems are very brittle and may break upon first use. The Chakapa can easily be brought back to life by simply spraying clean water over it from all sides and setting it aside for a day.
After the leaves have absorbed the moisture and feel soft, give it a good shake so that the leaves reorganise themselves and they become voluminous.
Every time before using it, you may repeat this process the night before. Often curanderos in the Amazon spray the leaves with aqua Florida or other flower water by taking a mouthful of it and spraying it onto the leaves.
It is also advised to treat the instrument this way after a ceremony, to wash off all the energies it has gathered.
Other names: Shakapa Chapaca