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  • Writer's pictureUrsula Vari

HUNI KUIN CHIEF LIGHTS UP LEGENDARY HOLLYWOOD VENUE

Words and Photos by Ursula Vari

Chief Mapu at Hotel Cafe on July 10, 2023

After a successful show with Raine Piyãko, son of renowned activist Benki Piyãko of the Ashaninka people and a surprise set by his nephew Piyãko Piyãko, producer Bryan Mir from Make Believe Pictures and Rudy Randa, co-founder of Aniwa and the Boa Foundation returned to the Hotel Café stage in Hollywood with yet another notable indigenous artist, Chief Mapu from the Huni Kuin tribe in the Brazilian Amazon.


Chief Mapu is a spiritual leader with global recognition for his work in preserving the cultural identity of his Huni Kuin people. He is an activist, a medicine man, a musician who is also an actor on one of Brazil’s most popular TV shows, Terra e Paixão. He was chosen at a young age to follow the spiritual path, to carry the message of the forest and to protect the rights of indigenous people through ceremony and music. The kind of music that has the potential to awaken, to unite and to elevate humanity. As the founder of the Huwã Karu Yuxibu Center, whose mission is to strengthen the cultural identity and spirituality of the Huni Kuin People, Chief Mapu continues to raise awareness on the struggles of indigenous people.


“We have to put our thoughts into practice. We can still avoid a big tragedy, the destruction of the whole planet, but this is the moment. And if we miss this moment, we are going to pay a high price.”


LA’s medicine community, who were in attendance at Hotel Café for Chief Mapu, recently returned from the highly anticipated Aniwa Gathering in Big Bear. The event brought together 40 indigenous elders from around the world to share their wisdom through traditional ceremonies, indigenous-led talks and music. Chief Mapu was one of the presenters at the gathering. His stories and songs moved the attendees all the way to infinity.


In his impassioned opening invocation on the Hotel Café stage, Mapu shared his urgent mission to raise funds necessary to acquire another piece of the forest close to his community to protect it from loggers, farmers and miners who have brought unsurmountable destruction to the Amazon that is having global impact. “We have to put our thoughts into practice. We can still avoid a big tragedy, the destruction of the whole planet, but this is the moment. And if we miss this moment, we are going to pay a high price.” The crowd with their eyes glistening listened to Mapu’s words of urgency. “And now we are going to bring our sacred prayers. I invite every one of you to open your heart, your spirit, your body to receive these prayers.” And with that, the journey of infinite sacred prayer songs began, with the audience singing along and stomping their feet from the first beat on, moving together in unison, with spirits soaring and arms stretched sky-bound becoming one with the Cosmos.


Despite the dimly lit space, light radiated from every being channeled by Chief Mapu and his masterful musicians: Alessandro Carvalho and Ahmed Agrama on djembe, Bryan Mir on bass, Rudy Randa on guitar and Yotam Weiss on drums. Mapu played most of the show with his eyes closed, going into a deep, meditative state, channeling the message of the forest, that of Mother Earth, the message of Creation, profound love and joy, through every breath, through each word and sound, weaving everyone in attendance into the fabric of the Universe.


I spoke with Bryan Mir, from Make Believe Pictures after the show. In addition to joining the chief on stage, Mir is also producing Mapu's upcoming album with Executive Producer, Rudy Randa. The two are spearheading the movement to ensure that indigenous voices make their marks not only in Hollywood but on the global stage.

Bryan Mir at Hotel Cafe on June 5, 2023

Mir shared that the following day they were all heading into the studio to record Mapu’s upcoming record, the first ever of its kind in Huni Kuin history. With Ashaninka Raine Piyãko’s show just a few weeks prior, and Yawanawa Chief, Iskukua’s a few months back, I suggested to Mir that maybe the time has come for a “Haux Music Festival” where all the voices from the medicine circles gather to continue their global prayers for the Amazon, for the Earth and for future generations to come and to share from the heart, spirit, love, joy and Earth Connection that is so needed all around the world. When immersed in sacred prayer chants, or as some may refer to the songs as music with purpose, through the guidance and wisdom of such leaders as Chief Mapu, one’s spirit can truly awaken with a mission that becomes so much bigger than the individual pursuit of happiness and suddenly the desire for collective joy and prospering emerges with the highest regard for what sustains us all, our Planet.


“I’ll always pray for each and every one of you. As a spiritual leader I have had this commitment my whole life, to bring this joy inside of your hearts and to share it with your family, neighbors, friends, parents, relatives. And to live with this joy every day. Every minute. Every second. Sacred. May the Great Spirit bring you peace, love, joy, healing, light, humility, simplicity, inside of your hearts, forever.” – Chief Mapu.


For More on Mapu's Projects and to see how you can get involved, please visit:



More about Aniwa and The Boa Foundation, please visit their websites.


From left to right Bryan Mir, Rudy Randa, Chief Mapu, Yotam Weiss, Alessandro Carvalho and Ahmed Agrama


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