"I am the Shaman" is a song by Scottish folk/psychedelic rocker Donovan, released as a single and video in May of 2021. As could be expected from Donovan's career, the song has elements of both folk and psychedelic rock in it. And also, just as significantly, the video for it was directed by Donovan's fellow Transcendental Meditation practitioner David Lynch.

First, the song: it is about Donovan being a Shaman. It switches between seemingly light, folksy verses and a harsher, distorted chorus. The verses tell of a trip on a ship through the stars, of an elfin ship, and of a mysterious lover. The chorus is the words "I am the Shaman" repeated in a distorted monotone. Like much of Donovan's music, dating back to the 1960s, it starts light but has a harsher edge to it. Which makes sense lyrically: shamanism is a celebration of nature that also acknowledges its dark side. And I feel that Donovan's use of distortion highlights his songwriting, instead of covering it up.

And now lets talk about the video, which to me seems to be intrinsic to the song's artistry. The video is minimalistic, and since it was recorded during the pandemic, I first assumed that Donovan recorded the footage and sent it to Lynch to be edited. But apparently Donovan flew to LA to record the video, which is mostly him sitting on a chair while playing the guitar. A "star" effect of streaking stars is superimposed on him. The camera zooms in on his eyes and a necklace he is wearing. There is a five second cut to some ocean waves. The video is in black and white until a brief splash of color as it fades out. The video parallels the music, because Donovan uses minimal music techniques, finger picking guitar with only his own voice, and the video uses minimal visual techniques, but together they create a dense, atmospheric, and even menacing experience.

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