Indigenous Music and Instruments of Ancient Mexico and Native North America
Time & Location
About the Event
Ethnomusicologist Jim Berenholtz takes us on a rich visual and acoustic journey through the indigenous traditions of ancient Mexican music. Along with his vast array of wind and percussion instruments from the Aztec and Maya civilizations, Jim will introduce to the sounds of other Native Mexican cultures as well, such as the Raramuri, Yaqui and Seri people to the north, the Totonac to the east, the Olmec to the south, and the Huichol to the west. We will listen in wonder as he demonstrates conch shell and giant gourd trumpets, butterfly cocoon rattles, ceramic flutes and whistles shaped like animals, intricately carved log drums, and turtle shell drums played with deer antlers. These are among the many instruments that made up ancient orchestras in the Land of Anauatl, which today we call Mexico. Our musical trek continues across the North American continent, from the Pacific to the Atlantic coast, from the frozen Arctic to the red rock deserts of the American Southwest. We will experience a wide range of hoop drums from many different cultures, a shaman’s staff from the Northwest Coast used to keep rhythm, beautifully carved cedar flutes and bone whistles, ritual soundmakers that imitate the wind, painted solar gourd rattles and medicine rattles made from turtles. We will also listen to traditional songs that honor animal spirits, or that call on the Creator to bring healing. Our journey will feature music from the Hopi, Haida, Navajo, Lakota, Yupik, Seneca, Kiowa, and Kwakiutl, among others.