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Virtual Artist Discussion: Ral Christman (Kumeyaay)- Bird Songs
February 27 @ 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm CST
Ral Takook Christman is a life-long Bird Singer, and one of few remaining in the Kumeyaay community, which puts this traditional ancestral knowledge at risk of being lost. Having the special opportunity to learn from his father at a young age, Christman has dedicated his life’s work to teaching, demonstrating, mentoring, and sharing his knowledge of the ancient artistic practice of Ashaa Takook to ensure it remains alive and is revitalized within his cultural community.
For the Kumeyaay people, Bird Songs, or Ashaa Takook, are an essential form of transmitting philosophical, cultural, and spiritual values and teachings to the community. They are a form of story-telling and oration, and as the name implies, are sung in ceremonies, rituals, and social gatherings. In addition to reciting oration, Ashaa Takook requires knowledge of several artistic and cultural practices, including traditional dancing, regalia-making, and Halmal, or gourd rattle, fashioning. Generations past once fluently knew all the songs, uses, and their meanings.