t THE SANTA FE SERIES is a journey through the American Southwest in graphics, photos, music and text - mainly concerning trains, Native Americans, cultural fragments of all sorts, reflections on what was and is now, and some biographical stuff for perspective. It's posted here because I love the Southwest, and feel a wake of some kind is overdue. .
This is 12-string guitar master Billy Strange, playing this classic written by Johnny Mercer and Harry Warren. It won the Academy Award for best song in a picture in 1946, the movie being The Harvey Girls. It's on Billy's '98 CD on the GNP Crescendo label, titled Railroad Man - The Songs and Sounds Of The Steam Era. (2:41)
Harry Connick, Jr. included this on his "25" CD on the Columbia label, that came out in '97 - when he turned 25! This is a slowed down (read: laid-back) offering compared to Judy Garland's semi-frantic version from the film, or even the slowtrain take (yawn) from that master of mellow - Bing Crosby. (8:06)
This is a traditional "Yei" chant, as is still performed all over the Navajo country, performed here by the Navajo Centennial Dance Team. It's from their Traditional Navajo Songs CD, released in '98 on the Canyon Records label. (3:20)
Manuel Guerro, from the Alamo Navajo Indian Reservation, sings and drums on this "social dance" song, which comes from his CD Passing the Traditional Songs, released in 2002 on his own label. (1:33)
d From Wikipedia
In the sand painting of southwestern Native Americans (the most famous of which are the Navajo), the Medicine Man (or Hata?ii) paints loosely upon the ground of a Hogan, where the ceremony takes place, or on a buckskin or cloth tarpaulin, by letting the colored sands flow through his fingers with control and skill. There at least 600 to 1000 different sand paintings that are recognized among the Navajos. They are not viewed as static objects, but as living things that should be treated with great respect. There may be more than thirty different sand paintings associated with one ceremony alone.
The colors for the painting are usually made with naturally colored sand, crushed gypsum (white), yellow ochre, red sandstone, charcoal, and a mixture of charcoal and gypsum (blue). Brown can be made by mixing red and black; red and white make pink. Other coloring agents include corn meal, flower pollen, or powdered roots and bark.
The paintings are for healing purposes only. Many of them contain images of yeibicheii, or the Holy People. While creating the painting, the medicine man will chant, asking the yeibicheii to come into the painting and help heal the patient.
When the medicine man finishes painting, he checks its accuracy. The order and symmetry of the painting symbolize the harmony that the patient wishes to reestablish in his or her life. However accurate the sand painting is will determine how effective it will be as a sacred tool. The patient will then be asked to sit on the sand painting, and the medicine man will then proceed with the healing chant. The sand painting acts like a portal for spirits to come and go, and also attracts them. Sitting on the sand painting helps the patient absorb some of their power, while in turn the Holy People will absorb the illness and take it away. Afterwards, the sand painting has done its duty, and is then considered to be toxic, since the illness is absorbed into it. That is the reason they must be disposed of afterwards. Because of the sacred nature of the ceremonies, the sand paintings are begun, finished, used, and destroyed within a twelve hour period. t
John Stewart, who passed away just a few months ago, performs here. After "filling-in" for a few years with The Kingston Trio, Stewart launched a long solo career that, while not hugely successful in terms of overall sales, nonetheless produced a lot of memorable songs, many that have an "Americana" theme running through them - good stuff. This is off his Punch the Big Guy CD, released in '86 on the Shanachie Entertainment Corp. label. (5:14)