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Pedro Andi,  "Swallows Call the Rain"


Doña Eulodia what are (these birds) called in Pastaza or Bobonaza?

We call these "shilli-shilli."

Shilli shilli?

Why do they call them shilli-shilli?

Because when it rains and they want to express happiness they say "Shilli, shilli!  Rain! shilli shilli!

So that is how they call out or cry?

Yes.  Maybe it is their song.  "Shilli, shilli, shilli, shilli.  And (these birds) don't just sing (down) here.

Say it again.

They say "Shillli, shilli, shilli, shilli, shilli" They go around in forming a circle like this.

Are they playing or dancing?

Who knows?  Are they playing? One goes higher, another like this...  Are they dancing?  Who knows what they are doing.  That is how they play.  But they say shilli, shilli, shilli, shilli.

Do you think they are feeling joy?

They are happy because the rain is coming.  They for a circle like a necklace there.

They circle around moving angarán angarán angarán (from side to side in syncopated movement).

Up there?

Up there.

And don Pedro what are these birds called in Napo?

We call them "suyu."


Suyu birds?


"Suyu" they call that.  "Suyu."  The old people did not call the darkening (of the sky) for rain "puyu."

"Suyu," they called that up there "suyu. suyu."  Now, the ones come later (call it "puyu""

But those who (lived) earlier did not call those puyu (clouds) puyu.   They said "suyu."


They thought that the suyu lived there.

They thought that the birds lived inside those clouds, that they had made their home there.

And do you think they call rain?

Yes, It is true...these birds.  When the summer comes and every day the sun shines, the sun shines and and the rivers dry up.

The grass begins to dry, the forest begins to dry and these birds also have no water

Then they say that they come to ask for water.

In other places the rains have already come.

They can't live there in that other place any more so then they come to the heat (where it is still dry).

When the people are suffering, and the fish in the river are suffering too.  Then they they (go) ask for rain up there.

That is why they go to the clouds, to a place close to father God, the old people used to say,

When they call out from there Father God is moved to spill out the water, in response to their prayer.

That is what the old people used to say.  That is the reason they rise and rise climbing up into the sky.

When they have risen (to that altitude) they say they sing from up there to ask the owner, the father who lives above.

They say they would sing asking for water,  asking to be killed because there is no water here.

After they do they that, after they go up (into the sky) they say they come back to the earth.

After they have talked with the owner they come back to the ground again.

When they return they report that the owner has said that the rains will come (soon).

For that reason they say they sing full of joy, happy, happy because the rains are coming.

They become happy because the rains are coming.

When two or three days have passed after their singing the rain begins to darken the sky up above.

The wind begins to rise up every where.  And then when the wind rises and the rains begin then (the swifts) are gladdened.

When it rains the next day, they stay out in that rain from dawn until dusk.


They fly in the rain crying "suyu, suyu, suyu, suyu, suyu."

They say "suyu"?

Yes. They live up there saying, "suyu, suyu, suyu."

Do they call the rain by saying "suyu, suyu, suyu?"

That is how their song is.  They float up above there crying "suyu, suyu, suyu, suyu, suyu, suyu, suyu, suyu, suyu."

That is how it is up there on the third day now.   Lots of rain has come.

Lots of clouds since there is a lot of rain.

Many clouds come?

Yes when lots of rain is going to fall.  If it is raining only a little it is because it is just the rain of the first day.

Then only a few singers begin to cover the sky.

When it rains hard it rains for three days day and night. When on the morrow it is going to continue for a third day....  Then many swifts gather.

The old people would know that it would dawn raining hard, (that the rains) were coming.

They were going to live with nothing but rain for about three days if not a weeks time.

The sun was not going to appear.  Just rain, rain, rain.

And in the dry season they (the swifts) are gone?

They are gone.  Who knows where they live (during that season).

When the rains come here, when it keeps raining and lots of rain rises up they go to another place where the sun has been shining.

They seem to go there in order to again ask for more rain.  So that he will in turn send the rain over there.

When the rains come?

Yes.  When the rains come here when rains they can't stay here for long.

They want to bathe for a little while.  Then on the next day, when the next day comes they go away.

After they do that the sun will be shining in a different place, wherever that is, maybe in the sierra.

They keep going to where the sun is shining?

Yes.  Toward the sun, over there where the sun is shining too much.  They go to make it rain there too.

These birds go all over.  They don't just live in here.

What month are they here?

We say they come around the month of January or December, in the dry months.

We say that the dry season begins in December, until the middle of the month of January when it is getting close to February.

Why do they leave?

They go away then.  Once the rain begins to fall they stop.

But in February.

By February they go away.  They will come in the dry season.

That is how it is.  They don't approach for no reason.

They are a very different kind of bird.

So they come in January?

In January or in December.

In December?  They come in December?

They arrive here in February.

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