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Have any of the Joseph Campbell community here heard of the Pueblo musician Robert Mirabal?
(It is possible that I mentioned this on an older message board here some years ago but am not certain.)
And I ask forgiveness ahead of time for any typos or “awkward modifiers,”
since can no longer find the Edit button alas! My 80 year old English tutor may be rolling in in the stars as my words trip over themselves in a Percival flow of consciousness!
Back to Mirabal.
2nd question have any of you seen Music From a Painted Cave?
This piece was shown on PBS back around the millennium.
It is filled (at least to me) with the transcendent energy, and symbology, which crosses cultural boundaries…the energy and experience, which Joe Campbell loved.
For those who have not seen it…Robert Mirabal is both musician and storyteller (why this reminds me so strongly of Campbell)
Robert brings together both the traditional dance and music and storytelling of his culture (beautiful Native flute and drum…underscored by subtle cello and violin)
Dancers in vivid bright feathered costumes and fringed shawls…
Then moves into the conflict of the traditional culture finding balance and celebration with the modern culture of cars and computers…
And in comes the electric guitar, the battle between native and rock drums, a harmonica and then a true crossing of culture Robert plays the digeridoo!
All this is not by accident as Robert himself journeyed to different places in the world.
His beginnings at Taos Pueblo in NM…he had a native dance mentor who I imagine played a part in Robert’s call to adventure… but Robert also was in theater and took modern dance as well! * note to All who know of Campbell’s wife Jean Erdman!!
Watching the video, one can tell Robert had both traditional and modern dance training. It’s beautiful to see.
My family and I were lucky enough to see Robert Mirabal perform live “Songs From a Painted Cave” at the Asheville Civic Center in NC.
It was a powerful and gorgeous experience! It felt like being in a ceremony and even Robert said as much from the stage…”you do not know it but you just participated in a ceremony (Peace.)”
it happened November 2001 so one can imagine that something uplifting
was very much needed. And this was!
As for Robert’s travels, he went to Russia where he gained the nickname “gypsy man!” And he danced with them.
Robert went to Japan, where he danced with two Japanese Boku? (Not sure if saying that right) dancers, whom he befriended.
And he traveled to Australia (the aboriginal culture there)
Thus the digeridoo.
One of my favorite songs is “The Dance.”
Robert speaks of the sacredness of the dance…the need for the Dance…what The Dance means in his culture.
And I can hear reflections of all those Joseph Campbell quotes in relation to dance, rhythm and poetry.
Where there is doubt there is hope.
Where there is fear there is love.
Where there is hate there is peace.
Where there is suffering…there is the dance sings Robert.
‘All life,’ said the Buddha, ‘is sorrowful’; and so, indeed, it is. Life consuming life: that is the essence of its being, which is forever a becoming. ‘The world,’ said the Buddha, ‘is an ever-burning fire.’ And so it is. And that is what one has to affirm, with a yea! a dance! a knowing, solemn, stately dance of the mystic bliss beyond pain that is at the heart of every mythic rite. -Joseph Campbell quoting the Buddha
I also recall Joe Campbell quoting Alan Ginsberg?
About joy, music dancing…and the whole world will want to join the Dance?
“Music From a Painted Cave is an excellent example of this!”
Touching on the transcendent!
I believe Campbell would have fallen in love with “Music From a Painted Cave.”
AND FOR SYMBOLs…
In the title track, “Painted Caves…”
Robert asks: “Who were these ancestors painting the same symbols all over the world?”
The light is dimmed upon the stage and projections of pictographs are illuminated on the screen behind and there are cave paintings on the back of a woman’s shawl…
Robert plays eerie notes on a picorina.
Talk about Cosmic Consciousness!!
I love the music, but would highly recommend the video or DVD of “Music From a Painted Cave!”
It is right up this road of adventure!
Robert no longer tours such a spectacle and he began to do smaller shows with either jazz ensemble or his own smaller band over the years. He also did a one person monologue (was it on Geronimo? May have to recheck that.) And he wrote raw biographies of his life on the reservation. And put out other solo flute albums.
But I will never forget “Painted Caves!”
And lest other dancers be left out…Rulan Tangen is a gorgeous modern dancer…
Think Jean Erdman as well as Joe would appreciate Rulan’s dancing in the “Courtship song.”
And Michael Greyeyes too is an excellent dancer!
Other participants in the show include Robert’s wife Dawn, their daughter Aspen Dawn (4 years old)
Robert’s brother Patrick,
And guest stars Star Nayea
(a well known Native Singer) mom
And Kenny Aronoff (session drummer for John Mellencamp.)
Not to mention the whole ensemble of beautiful Native dancers and singers who bring the songs, dances and stories alive!
Wish Joe and Jean Campbell could have seen this!
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