Wednesday, June 29, 2011
At a fairly young age I was commissioned by two avant-garde dancers - Eiko and Koma, who are very famous in the style of the Butoh movement. I did a piece of music called “Land” for a show we collaborated on by the same title and we toured all over the world together.
It was within that framework that I was offered a fellowship through the American-Japanese Foundation to study Arts & Cultural in Japan. I stayed there for about five or six months, right around the time of the L.A. Riots in ’92; before cell phones; before it was so easy to just get on a computer and communicate with people all over the world and it was still very, very traditional in some of the places that I went to.
"There's No Place Like Home" or... Is There?
I rented a home in a place called Ninomiya, near a surf town called Oiso. This place was so radical and it was right on the Tokaido highway; an ancient highway that goes all the way between Tokyo and Yokohama. From Ninomiya I traveled everywhere and met a lot of people. At that time I realized how easy it would have been to just stay there because it was so amazing for me. However, it soon became time for me to decide to go home to the States and honor my commitments. So I went home. And in actuality, it was my connection to a woman I really cared for (and eventually married), that brought me home. There was nothing else.
But there were some strange things that started happening after I came home. I started to dream about certain things and they would happen; now especially, because I’m living up in the cornfields there are no electromagnetic waves. Because of these dreams I knew that there was going to be a lot of connection with the Japanese contingency this year and now they seem to just show up.
East Meets West
I was working at the Pueblo shop last week, as I usually do on Saturdays and Sundays, when my friend my friend Taka came in. Taka Masui is a famous photographer in Japan who I had met awhile back and he brought with him Insakasamoto, one of the editors of Lightning Magazine; a famous contemporary clothing magazine in Japan. They were working on a photography assignment.
East Meets West, Again
My next meeting was on June 10th for a television show that has 42 different segments which means “take it easy” in English. The saying, “take it easy” has become quite popular in Japan. The host was pretty interesting and is a well- known pop musician in the vein of an acoustic song-writer style, his name is Caravan.
My tie to Japan and the Eastern world has been interesting and I’ve always felt a connection to Japan so I just want to invite my Japanese friends to continue showing up in my world, or in my dreams first.
this is Taka and I
Monday, June 27, 2011
This song was inspired by some random comic-strip I saw when I was boy, it showed two pencil drawing segments with the captions ancient corn dance on one and the other read, post-idiots acid rain dance.
the corn dance had a pretty scene of some pueblo corn dance with rain clouds billowing above them and the other scene was a three dancers in space suits and helmets carrying rattles with rain melting the background of a city.
my ancestors have always said, "take care of this land, or it will turn on you."
Anyway i thought i would post this with some pix of my ancient place and faces.
sad how in such a short period of time we have become the most destructive creature of all.
Heres the new video http://www.youtube.com/user/drmirabal#p/a/u/1/DhUubcKvTsQ
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
The Clasp Bracelet, or Buckle Bracelet as it is sometimes called, has become very popular in the Pueblo. I call it the Bringer of Rain; the Bringer of Abundance. There are three different symbols used in this Rain Maker Bracelet; the rain clouds, the seed, and the masa. Masa is the symbol of "up and down", like a staircase, and represents the mountains; a way of life from childhood to adulthood to eldership to death. There are also other symbols that are based around the Rain Bringers.
This particular piece of jewelry represents the basis of Puebloan culture, that is; without corn there is no song, without song there is no dance, without dance there is no rain, without rain there is no life. I call first part of the buckle the "beginning of ceremony" and it’s connected through the cord, which represents the rain, that wraps around your wrist. The cord then connects to the other side of the buckle (emulating heishe/rows of corn), which has rain cloud (or seed) symbology, and then they come together. So, in essence, it’s ceremony--rain, corn, clouds... When the bracelet is buckled onto the wrist the circle is completed and the magic commences.
The step-by-step process of the Clasp Bracelet AKA "Bringer of Rain":
|first process is designing|
|corn/rain clouds theme ready for mold|
|out of the mold|
|adding the cord/ rain|
|finished Rain Maker ready for a wrist|
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
My daughter Kona Sunrise is nine years old going on twenty-five and she’s the artist of the family. I guess as the saying goes, “the apple doesn’t drop too far from the tree.” Kona is a lot like me, she’s very headstrong. She's a very powerful girl and if she puts her mind to things she has an ability to cause people to conform, change their minds, and she just creates ideas that most people would not have thought of.
Kona’s a dancer and I’m not quite sure what her life is going to be like. However, there’s a whole other part of her that I really appreciate and that is based on the fact that she can really, really connect with people and that’s something I could never do as a kid. As a boy I was so shy and I see her now and she’ll go up to anybody; man, woman, elder, child – it doesn’t make any difference.
She has the ability to just light up a room and traditionally she’s walking in her sister’s footsteps. I love her very much and there’s a whole other part of me that would not be here if it wasn’t for her. As I mentioned in my previous blog about Aspen, the reason I am who I am (the man that I am today) is because of my girls. Thank you Kona.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Aspen Dawn is my fourteen year old daughter and the picture you see above is her 8th grade promotion. Many of her classmates wanted to dress in contemporary fashion but Aspen decided that she wanted to wear her traditional outfit. As long as I can remember Aspen has always had that certain know-how about what to do and how to present herself.
In the next few weeks Aspen will be going with her mom to Peru. They were invited to do a cultural exchange and she’ll see what they call an Inti Raymi festival, a kind of solstice celebration that lasts for one week. Through Tiwa Farms they were invited to do this cultural exchange in order to visit some different farming communities in order to exchange ideas, as well as seeds, and to bring them back to Taos Pueblo to see how we can establish connections through agriculture. Corn has never had a boundary.
Interestingly, I grew up in a mostly predominant all-women family and our matriarch was my grandma (who passed away when she was 93 years old). Since I was one of the only boys in my whole family I became immensely immersed in a lot of physical activity; from shoveling snow for three different houses, to chopping wood for two houses, to working the fields and just being kept overly busy outdoors. As a young boy I really disliked my grandma but as the years went by I realized how much of her had influenced me and my work.
Now, in my father-daughter connections I don’t hear my grandpa all too much in my voice but I do hear my grandma. I’ve always said that the man that I am today is because of my grandmother and the man I am in connection with tradition, culture, and a sense of success in business and in my music, is because of my daughters. Family, it seems, has no boundaries either in their influence upon us.
Aspen is a very influential part of my life and I wanted to write this blog just to say how much I love my girls and the indigenous women that are out there. Like the women in my family, remember that you have a voice and that your connection to this world is valued immensely and dearly.