November 26, 2010

Southern California Native secular songs

DVD preserves Native American songs

By David OlsonThroughout their history, Southern Californian Native Americans have documented their lives and passed on traditions through song.

Some sacred songs have been preserved through centuries of ceremonies, but some secular songs were lost, at times because they were only sung among members of a particular family.

A recently released DVD is the first to feature secular songs from Southern California Native Americans, said Cliff Trafzer, a professor of history at UC Riverside and one of three UCR researchers who created the DVD.

The 40-minute DVD, "Keeping the Songs Alive," includes interviews with 10 tribal elders and teachers from Inland and other Southern California tribes. They sing generations-old songs about mountain sheep and recently written songs about the casinos that have lifted some tribes out of poverty.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see High-Tech Traditional Music.

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