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Traditional Native American song is much more than entertainment, intellectual stimulation, or social pursuit. It is used to change the life condition of the entire community, and it helps to heal maladies of the mind, body, and spirit.
In the Native American community, the musician is thought of as a sound healer and an important teacher. The instrument makers, even the plants and animals involved, are blessed and initiated, and they hold a special place in the community.
Native American instruments include: Taos drum, log drums, frame drums, bombo, and other drums; rattles made of nut shells, seed pods, sea shells, turtle claws, rawhide, baskets, animal horns, and animal toenails; bones; jingle mats; stones; Kechua flutes; reed horn; mouth bows; ancient marimba; dance bell ring; scrapers; hoe blade; and reed bundles.
"It is my honor to share a tiny sample of the indigenous songs of the land that we walk on so that we may enjoy and appreciate this precious inheritance."
—Valerie Dee Naranjo
Valerie Dee Naranjo, MA, sang with her family and traveled with them as a child throughout the Southwest and Mexico to learn about her fellow Native Americans' music and instruments. She has sung in schools, community centers, and substance abuse clinics throughout the Navajo reservation. Valerie sang and drummed with the Native American women's group Ulali.
She has given performances and workshops on six continents, and has arranged, performed, and recorded with Philip Glass, David Byrne, Selena, Tori Amos, Hugh Masekela, and the international percussion ensemble Megadrums. Valerie arranged the percussion books for the Broadway hit The Lion King, and she currently performs with The Lion King and NBC's Saturday Night Live Band.
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