My love for music began when I was a wee little girl, many, many, MANY, years ago.
Despite having a large family, there was a time in my life where I was an only child. After my mom and step dad divorced he took me and lived with his sister who was an influential Dine woman in my life. With no more than an eighth grade education, she was knowledgable in other ways on the culture. Hindsight looking back, it’s been the bread and butter to who I am today.
As I look back, my step dad Robert was a pretty influential person in my life too. He was a hard working blue collar worker as I recall. In fact, he worked for the Navajo Generating Station for 35 years. Needless to say, we were fortunate in that he was employed. We always went to see my gram (his mom) and did horsework. Woven into this story, is music.
My step dad loved to read and enjoyed his music. But so did my older brother (Bennis– a big Michael Jackson fan) cousins (Tina, Percy, Val– R & B soul and metal) and my aunty mama Mary and her sister Sally (Tina and Val’s mom— classic country and Motown), and my gram (Yei be chei on KTNN and of course more classic country). These were all people who I lived with or had extended stays with during the summer. Each one listened to some genre of music and those very songs they liked bring back nostalgic childhood memories. Laughter, joy, happiness, even sadness, anger, frustration, shoot you name it, I think as a family, we felt them all. We just never talked about them and were actually weaving our stories with music.
Something about the sounds of an AM radio station that is so cool to me that I absolutely enjoy listening to KTNN and remember going to visit my grams on weekends and she’d be jamming out. My memories of my Nahlee sahni are so cool I feel blessed and fortunate to have experienced them. So anytime I hear the Dine newscasters in their rez accents, I feel comforted knowing I actually know what they’re saying and remember my gram weavin with music playing in the back ground as I helped card the wool.
During these formative years, I recall classic rock, country (today on Pandora its classic country), R & B, disco, pop radio (Casey Casum for you old heads), and metal/rock were on the rotation. Pretty much, I adapted, hung out, embraced, and enjoyed wherever I was at and with whomever. I had a large enough extended family of kin that my appreciation for music blossomed. Being an only child in those years truly taught me how to weave my life into existence with music.
When I went to live with my mom and two sisters (after she remarried) I had some growth to go through. Looking back, I was a spoiled only child who moved in with her mom and two sisters and was humbled by the fact that not everything is peachy keen. Trust me, I have an older sister who likes to remind me of this every so often. In our story, we listened to music, shifted gears, grinded the tranny of life a few times, and had to work through the twists and turns and listened to music while at it.
Years later, I graduated high school and wanted to move far away from my parents. My step dad wanted me to go to school at our local universty (NAU) but to me it was still too close to home (literally like 3 miles away) and the thought of my dad on my case made me wanna fly…. far away. So I moved to Phoenix to live with my older cousin Tina. Now you guys got to know, my cousin Tina is the coolest kick ass cousin around.
She is one of my older sisters and from childhood, as far back as I can remember, had the coolest jams ALWAYS. In fact, she introduced me to A Taste of Honey, the Manhattans, Chic, Sister Sledge, Sugar Hill Gang, the Gap… any R & B soul influence from my life was because of her. To this day, she has a mad collection of music that’s so cool to a music lover like me. I am always diggin on her collection. This is how cool she is, when I got my first stereo, she helped me set it up and THAT is what childhood memories are made of when weaving stories with music. (The Police Synchronicity and Van Halen Jump albums were hot then)
So pretty much, this blog thoughts out loud about music is an ode. A beautiful ode to music and my love for it. Today I listen to everything I feel like I want to listen to, I even listen to some hard-core rap like NWA, Westside Gangstas, Too Short, but woven into that is the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Who, Fleetwood Mac, Jay Z, Foxy Brown, Lil Kim, Tupac, Stevie Ray Vaughn, A Tribe Called Quest, Kim Carnes, U2, to name a few… heck… I have a music lover appreciation that is so ecclectic, I truly am like a karma chameleon.