Thursday, June 29, 2006

Dragonfly Gala to celebrate the music of Southern Californias First Culture

For centuries, music has been the heartbeat of the diverse American Indian nations of Southern California. For everything, there is a song. Music teaches, unifies, and strengthens the community. At Dorothy Ramon Learning Center's third annual Dragonfly Gala on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2006, a community of people from around Southern California will continue this tradition and celebrate the music of the First Cultures.

California has more Indian cultures and reservations than any other state. Yet even people living near these reservations often know little about the people who live there, their history, traditions, languages, art, and music.

The third Dragonfly Gala will feature the music of several Southern California cultures (including Cahuilla, Chumash, Kumeyaay, LuiseƱo, and Serrano) and honor those working to save this music and to share it with younger generations and the public. California Indian music is very different from the music of the Plains Indians. The most obvious difference is that songs are accompanied by rattles, not drums. The melodies and rhythms are often complex. The Bird Songs, to be featured at the Gala, tell of how the people came to their lands and what they found there. There are now several groups singing and sharing these songs, believed to be among the first ever sung in Southern California. The Learning Center's cherished Dragonfly Award will be presented for "high-soaring achievement in saving and sharing Indian music."

A dinner will be served featuring some Native American foods. Last year's gala, which featured Native American plants, drew a crowd of nearly 300 people from around Southern California. This year's event will feature demonstrations, exhibits, and booths that spotlight Southern California's own music.

The public is invited to share in this event, with proceeds going to support the work of Dorothy Ramon Learning Center, and Ushkana Press, a (501)(c)(3) nonprofit public-benefit corporation. The nonprofit Learning Center and its publishing arm, Ushkana Press, save, document, and share the Indian cultures of Southern California.

The Gala is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 5, from 4 to 8:30 p.m. at Morongo Community Center, 13000 Fields Road, Morongo Reservation, near Banning, CA. Individual tickets may be purchased for $40. Table (of 8) sponsorships with preferred seating are also available at the following levels:

  • Clapper Stick: $500
  • Flute: $800
  • Rattle: $1,000

There will be a silent auction featuring Indian art. If you wish to donate an item, please contact us.All contributions are tax deductible.

For reservations and further information, contact Ernest Siva,


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