As I was killing my brain, watching stupid YouTube videos (waiting for tonight's Daily Show to post) I stumbled upon these two videos. Instead of the intended killing of my brain, it is now all warped out of recognition. I would be interested to hear what non-Tlingits think of these two videos. For the record, I think they're brilliant.
Last summer, Progressive Alaska was kind enough to host a BBQ picnic fundraiser so Celtic Diva and I could get to Denver for the Democratic National Convention. Diane Benson, after taking part in a debate, drove all the way out to the valley (that's Wasilla/Palmer country) to catch the tail end. While there, she roped me into singing, and asked what I wanted to sing.
At first, we couldn't find a common one we both knew - she is from a different area of Southeast than I. But she asked if I knew the song Tsu Héidei Shugaxtutaan. Of course! If you start singing this song in a gathering of Tlingit people, you're bound to get half of them singing with you! It's best in a big crowd of people stuffed into a gymnasium, or concert hall, but she got me singing a bit of a duet with her. Progressive Alaska posted on it later.
The song translates to (as I learned it) "We once again open this box of wisdom that has been left in our care." Though simple, it is a song of responsibility and tradition.
I cannot begin to tell you how these videos turned me upside down with their interpretation of the song and dance. In the first, this artist dances some kind of techno dance (forgive my ignorance) to the traditionally sung song. In the second video, he dances the traditional entrance sort of dance a man would do, but to this techno song.
This is the definition of art. It certainly had an effect on me, using a song and dances, background, etc. that I am quite familiar with in a completely new, yet simple, way. I am interested to hear what people who are not familiar with the traditional song think.