All posts tagged: music

Indigenous Futurisms

A mix tape opens with a NASA countdown. It transitions to the words of John Mohawk, journalist, negotiator in regional and global conflicts, and Indigenous activist of the Seneca Turtle Reserve. The beats that follow are ambient, rhythmic, and transient; each fragment of a song, speech or manifesto morphs into the next without abating.

“Run to the Hills?” – Representations of Native Americans in Heavy Metal

In “celebration” of Thanksgiving, American heavy metal band Mastodon (pictured above) released a controversial limited-edition t-shirt [fig. 1]. The T-shirt’s violent imagery and seemingly celebratory attitude towards genocidal atrocities polarized Mastodon fans and fans of heavy metal more generally. In response, the band issued a statement of Facebook clarifying their position and intent. Regarding our thanks giving (sic) shirt, whether you choose to believe or not, the American Indians were massacred by the white settlers who became the Americans we are today. this (sic) shirt represents this atrocity and celebrating in the face of this atrocity is chilling. We may have a sick sense of humor, but we are far from being “Racist” as some of you who might not get it are calling us.1 Ignoring the fact that sarcasm and irony are not necessarily the most appropriate means of addressing issues of racism and systematic acculturation, both positive and negative responses to the shirt largely ignored the question of gender and sexualized violence.2 The feather in her hair, the short grass skirt, and the buckskin …

La Orquesta Sinfonica Infantil de la Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez

“My name is Angie. I’m eight years old and I am playing the bass violin. The bass violin has four strings. It’s a really big violin that can be used to do this,” as she demonstrates by playing. This is the first captioned line of a short documentary in Spanish titled Cornflakes: Desayuno en Juárez (Cornflakes: Breakfast in Juárez). In the scene that follows, we see Angie, Cornflakes’ protagonist, sitting against a green wall holding the bass violin, taller and wider than her eight-year old frame, telling us how many strings the instrument has. She looks down with concentration to pluck each with the petite fingers of her right hand. With each sound, she offers a description: “One is called ‘Sol,’ another ‘Rey,’ another ‘La,’ another, ‘Mi.’” The scene ends with Angie’s pronouncement: “that’s how my life began” [Fig. 1]. Angie is one of 195 youth musicians in La Orquesta Sinfónica Infantil de la Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez (UACJ), the Children’s Symphony Orchestra of the University of Juárez. Over the course of an academic …