Hopi Rhythms concert highlights Native American Heritage Month

By TARA ALATORRE

CAMP VERDE – November is Native American Heritage Month and the Verde Valley Archaeology Center is paying tribute to indigenous people’s rich ancestry and traditions with the “Hopi Rhythms” concert on the evening of November 10.

The concert will feature the traditional, classical and contemporary rhythms, showing the great variety of musical interest and talent among today’s Hopi people. The concert will also begin with selections from the Ongtupga Project, a cultural music and video project celebrating ancient sounds of the Grand Canyon.

Ongtupga, which is the Hopi name for the Grand Canyon and translates to salt canyon, is celebrated through voice, Hopi long flute and percussion in the Ongtupga Project by the Vice Chairman of the Hopi Tribe, Clark Tenakhongva, and master flute player, Gary Stroutsos. Their music will be accompanied by stunning images of the Grand Canyon and an explanation of the Hopi cultural connections to the canyon.

Tenakhongva is a respected cultural practitioner with a lifetime of experience singing Hopi songs and is actively involved in protecting cultural sites like the Grand Canyon. While Stroutsos has a 35-year career as a world flute musician with his music featured in the Ken Burns documentary “Lewis and Clark: Journey of the Corps of Discovery.”

“Gary’s talents flow through a variety of world flutes, but his mastery of the Hopi long flute transports listeners to a spirit of place unlike any other,” stated a press release from Verde Archaeology Center.

The Hopi High School Classical Guitar Ensemble will also perform a short classical program of guitar concertos. The high school was created and organized around the cultural identity of the Hopi people, making the music program more unique than most other school music programs.

The concert will conclude with a performance from Casper and the Mighty 602 Band, which is led by a Hopi/Dine native, Casper Lomayesva. The band has a contemporary reggae sound and Lomayesva’s performances and music expose the realities of life on the reservation.

The band has performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the American Indian Inaugural Ball in Washington DC, and alongside Bruce Springsteen and Dave Matthews in Madison Square Garden.

“His lyrics tell the stores of reservation life. The music is reggae with a blend of herbs and spice from a variety of musical influences,” stated the press release. “Same tree…different branch.”

Profits from the concert with go to the Hopi Educational Endowment Fund for scholarships. Also, the Verde Valley Archaeology Center’s capital campaign to build an archaeological campus near the ancient pit house village that was recently saved from becoming a housing development.

The concert starts at 7 p.m. and takes place at the Phillip England Center for the Performing Arts, 210 Camp Lincoln Road in Camp Verde. Tickets range from $15 to $35 and can be purchased online at www.pecpaf.com.

For more information visit verdevalleyarcaeology.com or call 928-567-0066.

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