Saturday, November 5, 2011

Litchfield Park Festival

        I'm coming out of a work-induced hibernation, and there's no better way to do that than to enjoy a day in the sun, listening to great music.
        The Litchfield Park Festival featured Arvel Bird, my favorite Native American musician, and my favorite Native American group, Estun-Bah.    The downtown area was closed off and lined with booths of art, jewelry, and food.    All afternoon the musicians performed on the stage in the center of the festival.

       Arvel Bird played a lot of my favorites from his "Animal Totems" CDs , including Red Tail Hawk.   The first time I heard him perform was at a different festival in Litchfield.  As he performed Red Tail Hawk, a real red tail hawk circled in a thermal above the stage area.   A magical moment.
      He has won many American and Canadian awards, including being named Artist of the Year in 2007 by the Native American Music Awards.   Today he performed songs from many of his albums, including some of his newer Celtic songs.   I bought his latest CD, "Ride Indian Ride", which is listed as Blues Rock.  He played the title song, and it sounded great.  I can't wait to listen to the entire album.

      Estun-Bah features Tony Duncan on flute (in blue above), Darrin Yazzie on guitar (in red and black), and Jeremy Dancing Bull on drums (see photo below).    In addition to being a great musician, Tony Duncan is the World Champion Hoop Dancer.   He performed a hoop dance today, but I couldn't get a good picture.  But you can see a picture of him at the Hoop Dance Competition that was held at the Heard Museum this year on my February 6, 2011 blog.
      On the end in yellow is Tony's wife, Violet.    She performed a Shawl Dance, one of the women's social dances.   Very graceful and colorful.    The lady in pink must be family, too, but I'm afraid I didn't get her name.   Their baby also made a brief appearance--so cute!  He was being held on a traditional cradleboard, but  I  missed getting his photo.  When I took the above pic, he was asleep.  
     I bought their CD "From Where the Sun Rises", and I'm listening to it as I write tonight.   Beautiful songs.   Their CD's can be found on Canyon Records.  This album was a finalist in the Best Instrumental category, 2011 NAMA.

     In addition to playing drums, Jeremy Dancing Bull also performed a men's grass dance.   I had never seen this type of dance before.  It comes from the northern plains tribes where tall grasses grow.   In order to prepare the area for the tribe, the young men had to stomp down the prairie grass.    The dance celebrates this tradition.  It is often the first dance performed at a pow-wow or other gathering to bless the dance and dancers.   A very powerful and energetic dance!

      The arts were beautiful, especially these Navajo weavings. 

     Jewelry, pottery, paintings, and photographs were abundant.   Something to please everyone.  I picked up a few small Christmas gifts--it will be here soon--and wished I could have bought a lot more.  
      My wish list is always bigger than my checkbook.  If only Kent would win the lottery.....

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