Southwest Indian Art Fair 2015
Native American music and dance is as diverse as the many tribes themselves. Most traditional Native songs and dances can be linked to ceremonies or social gatherings. Today Native musicians and dancers continue their traditional forms, and also draw from these for inspiration as they create new forms of music and dance that combine elements from Western music, other tribes’ traditions and their own imagination. The Arizona State Museum’s Southwest Indian Art Fair is proud to present performances reflecting this diversity, a plethora of talent and creativity with strong ties to cultural traditions. Featured this year are:
Cellicion Traditional Zuni Dancers
The Cellicion Traditional Zuni Dancers perform traditional dances, songs and stories from Zuni Pueblo in southwestern New Mexico, as well as dances and music adapted from other tribal groups in the Southwest. On the Native American flute, group leader Fernando Cellicion plays songs he has composed, as well as Plains-style songs from the Kiowa, Sioux, and Comanche. Founded in 1983, this multigenerational group has performed throughout the United States at festivals and powwows, in Washington, DC, at the Library of Congress, Kennedy Center and Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, and internationally, touring in Canada, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific.
Dineh Tah’ Navajo Dancers
The Dineh Tah’ dance troupe, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, performs traditional dances and songs in order to share a deep understanding of the rich cultural traditions of the Navajo (Dineh) people. Their dances make reference to spiritual beliefs and cultural practices such as grinding corn and the use of corn pollen in ceremonies, the role of spider woman and weaving, and gourds and ribbons and their roles in healing practices, among other traditions. Over the last 13 years, Dineh Tah’ have performed across the country and abroad including at the Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Heard Museum, Eiteljorg Indian Market, National Museum of the American Indian, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Library of Congress, and for the Inaugural Ball of New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, among others.
Dishchii’bikoh Apache Dancers
The Dishchii’bikoh Apache Dancers are from Cibiecue, one of the five Western Apache (Ndee or Indé) tribes living in the mountainous region of eastern Arizona. Dishchii’bikoh has performed Ga’an dances and a women’s warrior dance at museums, schools and festivals primarily in the Southwest. Ga’an are the spiritual ancestors of the Apache. They live in sacred caves in the mountains from which they watch over the Apache, protecting them and ensuring their wellbeing.
At times the Ga’an leave their home to teach the Apache the correct way to live or to use their spiritual powers to heal. Crown Dancers embody the Ga’an in this physical world serving as the Apache’s connection to the Mountain Spirit People. Each group of Crown Dancers consists of five dancers—four Ga’an who represent the four sacred directions and a caretaker who communicates with the Spirit people. Ga’an Dancers are instrumental in healing and cleansing ceremonies, including in preparing the grounds for the Sunrise ceremony, an Apache girl’s traditional coming of age ceremony.
Estun-Bah and Tony Duncan
Estun-Bah consists of Tony Duncan (Apache/Arikara-Hidatsa-Mandan) on Native American flute, Darrin Yazzie (Navajo) on guitar and Jeremy Dancing Bull (Arikara/Hidatsa) on traditional Native American drums and percussion. Estun-Bah is an Apache word meaning "for the woman." Traditionally used as a courting instrument, the Native American flute was played by a man to show his honor and respect for a woman. Estun-Bah’s performances incorporate both the Southwestern and Northern Plains styles of song and dance. Duncan is a five-time World Champion hoop dancer and is consistently ranked among the top ten in the world. As he dances he uses the hoops to create many intricate designs inspired by nature. Duncan was recently named Artist of the Year at the 2013 Native American Music Awards and appears in Nelly Furtado’s music video, “Big Hoops”. Estun-Bah has performed in Washington, DC for United States First Lady Laura Bush, at the Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, and in New Mexico at Indian Market and the Gathering of Nations Pow-Wow.
Kitzit (Laguna Pueblo)
Kitzit is a youth dance and singing group with members ranging in age from 9 to 21 years old. Kitzit is a Keresan word meaning to dance. The group shares various social dances including the butterfly, eagle, deer and buffalo dances. While these particular dances are shared with the general public, importantly they are at the heart of the Pueblo’s core values, and are offered as a form of prayer to the creator and to the animals they represent. The buffalo dance gives thanks to the buffalo for providing, food, clothing, shelter and tools. The eagle dance honors the prayers the eagle takes up to the creator, and to give thanks for the feathers and other parts of the eagle used for ceremony. The deer dance acknowledges the importance of the deer as a provider of subsistence and clothing to the Pueblo people. The butterfly dance is usually danced by females and is significant of life’s renewal, life’s emergence, rebirth and fertility. Since 1998, the group has traveled extensively, sharing dances, songs and stories of Laguna culture.
R. Carlos Nakai and Will Clipman
R. Carlos Nakai is the world’s premier performer of the Native American flute. Of Navajo-Ute heritage, Nakai has released more than 40 albums with Canyon Records with additional titles on other labels. Nakai created a new sound for the traditional flute when he began performing over 30 years ago and continues to work in the genres of Native American, world, jazz, and classical music. Two of Nakai’s albums, Canyon Trilogy and Earth Spirit, have earned certified Gold Records (500,000 units sold) while Canyon Trilogy has sold more than one million albums worldwide. He has sold over four million albums, received ten GRAMMY nominations and eight Native American Music Awards. He holds a Master’s Degree in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona, was awarded the Arizona Governor’s Arts Award in 1992, and in 2005 he was inducted into the Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame.
Will Clipman will be performing with R. Carlos Nakai playing selections from their Grammy® nominated album Awakening the Fire (Best New Age Album). He plays a pan-global palette of indigenous instruments in addition to the traditional drum set. In a career that spans nearly every known musical genre, Clipman has recorded over fifty albums, including thirty for Canyon Records. He has received seven Grammy® nominations for Best New Age Album and Best Native American Album, a Native American Music Award for Best Instrumental Album, and a TAMMIE Award for Best Drummer.
No:ligk Traditional Singers and Dancers (Tohono O’odham)
The No:ligk Traditional Singers and Dancers have been teaching and sharing their traditions for the last 16 years ago under the direction of Christine Johnson. Their dances include the basket dance, which symbolizes the weaving of a basket and as they acknowledge the four directions they pay homage to basket weavers around the world. The songs speak to the creation of the earth and its relation to those who inhabit it. Four generations of the Johnson family join together to preserve Tohono O'odham heritage and identity through song, dance and basketmaking.the creation of the earth and its relation to those who inhabit it.
Founded in 1951, Canyon Records, one of the oldest independent records labels in existence, produces and distributes Native American music representing many tribes and styles. Canyon Records is a sponsor of the performances at SWIAF and will be selling records at the fair.
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