Program 102: Taheebvu Chadi

Judy Trejo

Judy Trejo

The Rhythm of Life

with Judy Trejo

Music: Judy Trejo
Tuhva Tzi Buina (Pinenut Blessing Song)
Circle Dance Songs
Canyon Records


Arlie Neskahi :

As elemental as earth, wind, water and fire, rhythm is basic to human existence. As a Piaute song carrier, Judy Trejo has an intimate relationship with rhythm – from the rhythm of the seasons’ change, to the rhythms of a lullaby. Teheebvu Chaudi – Great Grandmother’s World by Judy Trejo.

The Piki maker. Hopi. Photo by Edward S. Curtis. Courtesy of a2zcds.

The Piki maker. Hopi. Photo by Edward S. Curtis. Courtesy of a2zcds.

Judy Trejo:
I’d like to tell you about the Paiute and Shoshone women’s work songs. They also doubled as lullabies. And our people, the women of our people would go about their duties with a cradle- board strapped on their back, with a baby in it.

And everything that they did was done with rhythm, whether they be scraping deer hides, antelope hides, or if they sat, were kneeling on the ground and grinding meal from dried roots that we would gather or different types of seeds. We had the wild rice and we had the mustard seed. Our staple foods were usually ground and often preserved that way.

But the way they moved with a baby upon their back was always done with rhythm. And rhythm was a part of our life. In fact, it still is. The seasons – the elements in which we live in is all about rhythm. A woman has a lot of rhythm. Motherhood is all about rhythm and a lot of it is also about circles. The world upon which we live is circular. And the world has the rhythm. That is why we have day and night. Everything is synchronized.

And whether we know it our not, the elements have their own rhythm. Especially the wind – because we can hear this. And they say even birds have their rhythm and the circular formation because their nests are round. And some of our old people will laugh, and say “Well, Paiute women are round! It’s not bad to be round. Chubby little babies are round.” and we age through roundness. The cycles of life is done with rhythm and a roundness to it.

In the cradle-basket. Hopi. Photo by Edward S. Curtis. Courtesy of a2zcds

In the cradle-basket. Hopi. Photo by Edward S. Curtis. Courtesy of a2zcds

But back to the singing rhythm – as the women went about their work, they had a rhythm. And their work songs also doubled as lullabies. It also, nowadays, serves as women’s gambling songs. But I choose to call them women’s work songs. I choose to call them lullabies. Some of these lullabies are my favorites. Some I have created for certain babies that I really love. And others are age-old timeless lullabies. There’s no telling how old some of these songs are.But I’d like to start with one that comes from the Owen’s valley country. This is your southern Owen’s valley Paiute and the Timbasha Shoshone country. And it goes like this.

How’d you like to fall asleep to that? And get rock-a-byed by the wind when mommy hung you in a tree in your cradle-board? Another one I’d like to run by you goes like this.

Music:

Judy Trejo
Women’s Lullaby
Wisdom of the Elders, Inc.

I would like to explain a little bit about this song. It was taught to me by a man that was like 85 years old. He was a Pomo Indian from Clear Lake, California. And it was one of their gambling songs. And I said “I really like that, it sounds like our women’s lullabies.” He said “Our women used it for work. Now we use it for stick game song.” and he said “Everywhere you go when you play stick game, use this song. Keep it alive!” And I have done my best to keep this Pomo song alive, because after about two years after he taught me this song, he passed on.

Music:

Judy Trejo
Women’s Lullaby
Wisdom of the Elders, Inc.

This is Eli’s song. It’s a lullaby I did for one of my grandsons. His name is Eli Brave Hawk. Someday Eli, you may hear this.

Music:
Judy Trejo
Eli’s Song
Wisdom of the Elders, Inc.

And that’s all for this time.

Music:
Keith Secola
Ooh Highway
Keith Secola
Fingermonkey
Akina Records

Neskahi:
Judy Trejo is a retired teacher with a master’s degree in counseling. Her first recording, “Circle Dance Songs of the Paiute and Shoshone,” received the 1997 AFIM Indie award for “Best Native American Album.” It is available from Canyon Records.