Developments in Peruvian Whistling Vessels

The 2nd edition of Animated Earth has just been published.

July 20, 2003

I revised Animated Earth for a variety of reasons.   Fifteen years have passed since the initial publication of my book about the ancient whistling vessels from Peru.  During those years my journey with the whistles has continued.  Along the way new perspectives have emerged that I feel warrant inclusion in my book about the ancient vessels.  These new perspectives focus on both the whistles themselves as well as on my own inner journey.  Synchronicities discernibly deepen the story in much the same way as they deepened my life and deepened my understanding of the ancient instruments.  The 2nd Edition of Animated Earth weaves this newly discernible pattern into the story.  Recounted is my deepest understanding of this ancient tool and its reanimation in the modern world.  I hope you enjoy the story.

Best wishes,
Daniel Statnekov

July 5, 2001

I have recently (in the last several weeks) decided that after more than 20 years of making and giving away sets of these instruments the time has now come for me to offer them to others for a fair exchange.

Up until now,  I've never sold a set of vessels, always giving them freely to hundreds of people.  Each instrument takes at least a full day of work for me to construct, and a set of seven which includes making each vessel, making and tuning the resonance cavities, the two firings as well as the packing and shipping takes at least two working weeks.

My life circumstances have recently taken a change with the consequence I will now have to charge for the vessels.  I've thought about a price and decided that I will ask $1,500.00 for a set of seven vessels.  This price includes the shipping charges.

With all best wishes,
Daniel Statnekov

October 22, 1996

In 1980,  living in rural New Mexico,  I felt that my work with the whistles was completed.  I had made and given away over a hundred sets of instruments,  pondered the possible meaning of the various iconographies,  and experienced the vessels in a wide variety of settings.  What was meant to evolve,  I felt, would happen in due course.  Don Wright,  a graduate student in psychology at Boston College,  had approached me about becoming my apprentice.  I agreed to teach him the craft of fashioning and tuning the instruments,  and I gave him my first set of molds.

I then turned my attention to other things among which was writing poetry and walking the beach in Naples, Florida.  It was there that I wrote the book,  Animated Earth,  to help put into perspective  (for myself as well as for those who might wish to read about it)  the journey that I had traveled with the whistles.  In the intervening years since then I have occasionally revisited my experience of replicating the whistles.

On one occasion (winter of 1983),  I joined Don Wright in New Mexico in order to make instruments for people who had approached me and to whom I could not refuse.  However, I continued to feel that a dynamic process was in motion and that my personal involvement in that process was largely completed.

photo of Daniel Statnekov in 1996 With my family,  I moved back to Santa Fe in 1988.  After a couple of years, a woman in Santa Fe asked me to teach her how to make the vessels.  By this time I had made a new set of molds for myself  (just in case),  and discovered that I enjoyed the process of teaching Kamala the craft of whistle making.

Over the years a few other people showed up asking for sets of vessels and in each case I made them a set,  asking only that they be dynamically involved with the actual process of fabricating the instruments.

Finally, in January of 1996,  I decided to resume making instruments as a serious,  integral part of my life.

Without anyone in particular in mind,  I began to make vessels and discovered that there were still people who "appeared" with a sincere desire to explore where the whistle energy would take them.  The very first set of instruments that I made ended up in Peru with a Peruvian anthropologist who is working with native peoples there.

I also revisited Don Wright at his new home in California and found that he had evolved his own interpretation of the frequencies that he used in making sets of instruments.  Although Don is still using my molds,  he now tunes his instruments to a subjective effect that he himself experiences while tuning each instrument.  Recipients of Don's whistles continue to report that his vessels are effective in catalyzing an altered state of consciousness.  I view his new direction as another evolutionary path in a dynamic process.

Nevertheless,  I decided to continue to make and tune my instruments in the same way as the pre-Columbian Andean craftspeople who had preceded me.

I continue to believe that what the Andean shaman/priests were doing with these instruments remains to be re-discovered.  Certainly, they are a remnant of a lost art.  In all likelihood,  they are part of a psycho-spiritual tradition,  an element in a technology of sound that disappeared along with the Inca Empire in the 16th century.

If this is the case,  then the whistles were a component of an arcane tradition:  their use limited to an elite class of scientist/priests.  In any event, the old understanding that pertains to them has been lost.  I have always felt that these sound instruments were used to access another dimension.  Whether that was an actual physical place or an inner realm does not seem important.

Our advantage in re-discovering these instruments now,  so many hundreds of years after they were last employed,  is that the cultural "garb" that they must have accumulated over thousands of years of use has been set aside.  Whatever "real" value Peruvian whistling vessels may have for so-called "modern people" is now free to emerge.   -  DKS

Daniel K. Statnekov
1201  N. Orange Street,  Suite 700
Wilmington, Delaware  19801  U.S.A.

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Copyright 1996-2014 by Daniel K. Statnekov
Installed:  Nov. 15, 1996
Last modified:  May 13, 2010