3 thousand Rivers is based on four years of field work and research that included several journeys along the Guapi, Napi, Timbiqui, Magdalena, Putumayo, Caquetá and Tocantins rivers and many of their tributaries. On these journeys we worked with communities experiencing 'in loco' the social and environmental challenges that threaten these fragile ecosystems - gold mining, oil exploration, mega infrastructure projects, deforestation, coca plantations and production.

girls play ball

Going Places

The highways of the forest

Most lines of communication in the Amazon and the Choco are the rivers themselves, while in the Andes cloud forests, precarious roads are carved in the steep sides of looming mountains, providing barely enough space for a truck to pass. Most of our trips by boat lasted from one to three days - despite the speed of the boats.

girl waiting
Flooded forest

Their stories and testimonials bring to life the struggle to negotiate survival alongside the different forces and powers that threaten the territories they inhabit - armed gangs, paramilitary forces, guerrilla groups, the army and multinationals, often with tragic outcomes for community leaders, local activists and their families. Woven together, and animated through video and music, these voices offer a chorus that challenges the fragmented picture presented in the media and brings to life the real drama that's unfolding in the rain forests.

Tree musgo
Malouca en La Tagua

Healthy Rivers

healthy forests

In the rainy season the Caquetá floods and its small tributaries called 'caños' flow into the forest that becomes a lake with its own unique aquatic ecosystem. Floodplain forests represent between 3-4% of the Amazon Basin area and are highly productive riverside areas receiving rich sediment from the Andes Mountains.

La Yakumama

Musical instruments of the forest

Rehearsing with Waira Nina Jacanamijoy at the Yachaicury Educational Center, where she also lives and works. She plays the Yakumama, a musical instrument made out of a turtle shell. An inheritor of the ambiwaska traditional ceremonies she has a wealth of knowledge in vocal techniques, some of which are related to communicating with animals of the forest, both real and mythical. Recordings were done at the Amazon Intercultural Radios Network studio at Yachaikury.

El Manguaré

Communication in the forest

Manguaré is a musical instrument used exclusively for communication among various communities lead by the same cacique or leader. The manguaré in this video belongs to the Maloca of the

Muruí-Muína (Uitoto) community of Puerto Berlin in the Caquetá river. Traditional healer Constantino Nonokudo makes a demonstration of the different rhythmic patterns that transmit specific messages concerning events, hunting, the arrival of someone or calling out for gatherings at the Maloca.

Night out at the Maloca

Music in the forest

The Maloca is a large communal house. It is also a traditional social unit, a type of dwelling whose symbolism represents for Amazonian communities a synthesis of the universe. In other words, the Maloca is a divine archetype, the womb of the mother earth, the house of the sun and moon and the receptacle of the celestial ray. We were gifted with a demonstration of Yadiko or the dance of the boa: a dance of twelve uninterrupted hours that they do for the "spiritual management of the territory", to protect the community from diseases and to purify the environment.