Lophophora williamsii: music

References concerning peyote music and Icaros, magic melodies among Ayahuasceros:

This fascinating area deserves a work unto itself. This is an incomplete list. Many of the peyote music references were included by LaBarre and I have been unable to obtain copies. 

Densmore, Frances (nd) “Winnebago Songs.” (Bureau of American Ethnology, Manuscript no. 1971)

Densmore, Frances (1932) “Winnebago Songs of the Peyote Ceremony.” (Bureau of American Ethnology, Manuscript 3261)

Densmore, Frances (1936) Southwest Museum Papers 10: 15-23, 82-93. “Cheyenne and Arapahoe Music.”

Densmore, Frances (1938) American Anthropologist 40: 175-177. “The influence of hymns on the form of Indian songs.”

Densmore, Frances (1941) American Anthropologist 43: 77-82. “Native songs of two hybrid ceremonies among the American Indians.”

Kurath, Gertrude (1953) American Anthropologist 55: 113 Review of: Cantos indigenas de Mexico, by Concha Michel (Mexico, D.F.)

Luna, Luis Eduardo (1984)b Journal of Ethnopharmacology 11 (2): 135-156. “The Concept of Plants as Teachers Among Four Mestizo Shamans of Iquitos, Northeastern Peru.” [includes scored icaros]

Luna, Luis Eduardo (1992) “Icaros. Magic Melodies Among the Mestizo Shamans of the Peruvian Amazon.” pp. 231-253 (Chapter 10) in: E. Jean Matteson Langdon and Gerhard Baer (Eds.) “Portals of Power. Shamanism in South America.” University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque [includes several scored icaros]

McAllester, David P. (1949) “Peyote Music” Viking Fund Publications in Anthropology No. 13.

McAllester, David P. (1951) American Journal of Sociology (January) “Peyote Music”

McAllester, David P. (1952) in J.S. Slotkin’s “Menomini Peyotism” (Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 42, pt. 4.) pp. 681-700. “Menomini peyote music.”

McAllester, David P. (1954) “Enemy way music: A study of social and esthetic values as seen in Navaho music.” (Reports of the Rimrock Project, Values Series No. 3, Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology.)

Merriam, Alan P. and D’Azevedo, Warren L. (1957) American Anthropologist 59: 615-641. “Washo peyote songs.”

Moore, Harvey C. (1956) American Anthropologist 58: 220. Review of: Enemy way music: A study of social and esthetic values as seen in Navaho music, by David P. McAllester.

Nettl, Bruno (1953) Journal of American Folklore 66 (260): 161-164. “Observations on meaningless peyote song texts.”

Nettl, Bruno (1954) Journal of American Folklore 67: 305-307. “North American Indian Musical Styles.”

Nettl, Bruno (1958) American Anthropologist 60 (3): 518-532. “Historical aspects of ethnomusicology.”

Rhodes, Willard (1958) Journal of the International Folk Music Council 10: 42-49. “A study of musical diffusion based on the wandering of the opening peyote song.”

The Library of Congress offers several Native American music assemblages that each contain one peyote song (along with other songs): Tape and booklet; $8.95 ea. plus p & h. [Check for current pricing]

    AFS L 35 Kiowa

    AFS L 40 Sioux

    AFS L 41 Navajo

Woodward, Hope Draper (1991) M.A. Thesis University of Texas at Austin. “Ashaninca Shamanic Healing Ritual and Song.”

Peyote Music

Available on Audio Tapes or on LPs (A partial listing) 

The following recordings are what has been encountered in print.
Inclusion here does not necessarily mean that they are still available or that the current offerings are necessarily limited to these; please inquire before ordering. Some are available on CD.

All record labels are from Rätsch 1998.

Cheyenne Peyote Songs. Volumes 1 and 2. (Rätsch lists Indian House, 1975 for a single entry) [C, D]

Crow Dog’s Paradise. Songs of the Sioux. (Richard Erdoes) Album EKS-74091; Elektra: New York.

Comanche Peyote Songs. Volumes 1 and 2. [D]

Guy and Allen. Volumes 2 through 4. [D]

Healing and Peyote Songs in Sioux and Navajo. [Primeaux, Mike and Attson] (Canyon Records, 1994) [C]

Healing Songs in Navajo (by Jimmy Knight) [B]

Huichol Sacred Music/Musica y Canto Ceremonial Huichol [Mother Eagle Kaili] (Paraiso, 1995) [C]

Indiens Yaquis: Musique et dances rituelles. (Arion, 1978) [C]

Intertribal Morning Peyote Songs. Volumes 1 and 2. [D]

Intertribal Peyote Chants. Volumes 1 through 6. [Bill Denny Jr.] (Rätsch lists 1984 Canyon Records) [D, C, D]

The Kiowa Peyote Meeting. (Ethnic Folkways Records, 1973) [C]

Kiowa Peyote Songs. [Kaulaity, D. Kozd, J. Kozd] (also offered by B; artists given as Kaulaity & Cozad) [B, D]

Lord’s Prayer Songs. [Alfred Armstrong] [D]

Musical atlas: Mexico (EMI Records, 1982) [C]

Music of the plains: Apache (Asch Records, 1969) [C]

Musiques Mexicaines (Ocora Disques. o.J.) [C]

Old Peyote Songs (by various artists) [B]

Navajo Peyote Ceremonial Songs. Volumes 1 through 4. (Rätsch gives Indian House 1981 for Vol. 1) [B, C, D]

Navajo Peyote Songs. [Kevin Lewis.] [D]

Navajo Peyote Songs. Volume 2. [Kevin Lewis] [D]

Navajo Wildcat Peak. Volumes 1 through 5. [Vols. 1, 3 and 4 are morning songs.] [D]

Navajo Wildcat Peak Youth. [D]

Peyote – A Collection. [D]

Peyote Brothers. [Guy & Allen] (Soar Sound of America Records, 1993) [C]

Peyote Canyon. [Guy & Allen] (Soar Sound of Records, 1991) [A, C, D]

Peyote early Morning Chants (by Daukei & Chester) [B]

Peyote Prayer Songs. Volumes 1 and 2. [W. Van Horn, E. Barker, A.C. Clark] [D]

Peyote Songs from Navaholand [Billie Nez] (Soar Sound of America Records, 1992; Spalax Music, 1993) [C]

Peyote Strength. [Guy & Allen] (Soar Sound of America Records, 1994) [C]

Peyote Songs from Rocky Boy. Volumes 1 through 3. [The Parker Singers] (Canyon Records, 1978) [B, C, D]

Peyote Songs. Volume 2. [Everette Barker] [D]

Ponca Peyote Songs. Volumes 1 through 3. [D]

Primeaux & Mike. [Peyote songs in Sioux and Navajo] (B offers Primeaux & Mike Volumes 1-7) [B, D]

Primeaux, Mike and Attson. Volumes 2 and 3. [D]

Songs of the Native American Church. Volumes 1 and 2. [Volume 2; Billy McClellan Sr.] [D]

32 Cheyenne Peyote Songs [Grover Turtle and Sam Sweezy] (Indian Records, 1979) [C]

Walk in Beauty: Healing Songs of the Native American Church. [Primeaux and Mike] (Canyon Records, 1995) [C]

Yankton Sioux Peyote Songs. Volumes 1 through 8. (Rätsch list Indian House, 1976 for a single entry) [A, B, C]


A: The Basement Shaman, P.O. Box 1255, Elgin, IL, 60121. [tape & CD]

B: The Peyote Foundation, POBox 778, Kearny, AZ 85237.

C: Listed by Rätsch 1998

D: Listed in October 1995 by Richard Wood’s: Wooden Penny Trading Post; 409-297-8953, FAX 409-265-6813. [Literature obtained at an Intertribal Pow-wow in Austin, Texas.]

Ayahuasca Music available on Audio Tapes

Luna, Luis Eduardo (ed.) (199?) “Music the Plants Taught Us.” (Audio tape of ayahuasca icaros; offered through many sources including the Basement Shaman.)

Rivas, Augustin. “Canto Musica Ayahuasca en la Silva de Peru: Agustin Rivas.” (Tape available through the Basement Shaman.)

Vasquez, Luis Panduro (2000) Ayahuasca Songs from the Peruvian Amazon. Colibri Publishing. (70 minute CD.)

See Rätsch 1998 for more.