Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My Brief Role As Publicist

I am grateful to be a respected writer but sometimes it feels like a Yogi Berra thing, like deja vu all over again. So, a few nights back, as I was pondering my future in this business and thinking maybe I needed a change, for a change, it came in the form of an email from Robert Mirabal's wife Dawn. She asked me if I would give a copy of Robert's new CD to Starbucks Hear Music on Lincoln Road.

For those of you who live beyond the tribal sphere of influence, Robert is a Grammy winning musician from Taos Pueblo who is best known for his flute making, flute playing, Indian rock music and the PBS special he produced and starred in called "Music From A Painted Cave."

Robert just released a CD titled "Pueblo Christmas" which has some original Robert songs, along with traditional carols that he, his brother Patrick Shendo and Michael Kott perform on flutes and cello. Arguably, the most interesting thing about this Christmas CD is that it is maybe one of a handful of CD's ever performed by Indians, mainly because of the historical conflicts between tribal religions and Christianity. If you know anything about the early Indian experience in this country, then you are familiar with boarding schools that banned tribal languages and forced conversions of the tribes.

The CD's colorful enclosure points out the ironies connected with each of the carols, giving the timelines of the massacres of tribal peoples that concurred with the years each holy song was written. Many of the songs we are familiar with sing of peace and love of your fellow man, which was a travesty then for what was occurring to our indigenous brothers and sisters. In truth, as carols were sung around campfires, barbed wire was being strung around reservations to lock the Indians into a world from which they would never recover.

The manager at Hear Music, Charlene, was surprised when she looked at the "Pueblo Christmas" CD in her hands and commented that she had never before heard Indians playing Christmas music. We reviewed Robert's other CD's, five of which were already at the computer stations and she quickly realized she was holding gold in her hands.

For those of you unfamiliar with Hear Music, and I know I've talked about this place before in my blogs, there are four of them now in the U.S. They are combination coffee house and record store and the main feature are music stations where you can drink coffee while you download your favorite recordings old and new to create original CD's.

Well, as you can guess, this story has a happy ending, but it has an even happier ending than that. I had given Charlene two CD's, one for listening and one for keeping. She said she was going to send the sealed copy on to the main office in Seattle with her recommendation that it be placed not only in the Hear Music Stores but in all the Starbucks Coffee Houses around the country.

What a good thing for Robert and Dawn, two of the nicest people in the world. And to make their season even happier, please contribute to the Middle Road Foundation. The Mirabals use the donations to feed and clothe the less fortunate children and elders at the Taos Pueblo and to keep their traditions alive.

For information about Robert Mirabal's holiday CD, please email me.
And a very happy holiday season to everyone!