Last year, Dancing Earth Indigenous Contemporary Dance Creations commissioned me to compose this track for Natalie Benally's solo work exploring her relationship to lineage, tradition, and ancestral language. It was a incredibly joyful, provocative and completely digital collaboration (even before the #WFH order's began). Natalie and I met through our work with Dancing Earth which employs both of us as artists and teachers on a project basis.
Natalie wanted a track that invoked the expansiveness of Diné Bikéyah and the intense passion of so many of our generation who have lost touch with traditional language and art forms because the ways our families were targeted by systemic racism. She also wanted the track to activate a sense of possibility for the reclamation of what should have never been stolen from us. In this track you will hear Natalie, singing in a call and response with her mother, Louise Benally, describing the Diné lifestyle of sheepherding in Diné Bizaad, a sonic way to weave k/new possibilities of her grandmother's dreams.
On this complicated and imperfect national holiday known as 'Mother's Day', we offer you this track to tune into as you contemplate the ways you hold sacred that which gives you life.
Shout out to Dancing Earth for hooking up the commission, and the myriad ways that company is uplifting the collective brilliance of Indigenous creatives across the world. Dancing Earth dynamically activates their mission to support Indigenous dance and related arts, to encourage and revitalize awareness of bio-cultural diversity through artistic expression, for the education and wellness of all peoples.