The New Moon
VOLUME 6, NO. 3 | August 1, 2008

What's New

Saving the Bighorn Sheep Songs

Bighorn Sheep

In early morning in the San Bernardino Mountains,
a Bighorn Sheep pauses amid feeding.
Photo: Juan and Jean Delgado

By Pat Murkland

Editor’s Note:The following article is reprinted with permission from Heritage Keepers: The Newsletter of the Dorothy Ramon Learning Center. Master artist Ernest H. Siva and apprentice Isaac Horsman Rodriguez are current participants in the Alliance’s Apprenticeship Program, conducting an apprenticeship in Serrano Bighorn Sheep Songs. Siva shares his perspectives on Serrano songs and working with Horsman Rodriguez in the subsequent article, A Modern Old Journey.

The 71-year-old voice sings: He kwe ma to kai yu pe.

The 17-year-old voice repeats: He kwe ma to kai yu pe.

Ernest H. Siva is teaching his grand-nephew Isaac Horsman Rodriguez the Serrano Bighorn Sheep Songs (Paa'chucham). The Paa'chucham are a series of songs telling an ancient Serrano story about the creation of the Bighorns. Mr. Siva is perhaps the only person who has been singing the songs and sharing them in recent years. Now, he is teaching this fragment of the past to Isaac, for the future.

Their apprenticeship is supported by a contract from the Alliance for California Traditional Arts. Recording of the songs is supported by an additional grant from the Fund for Folk Culture, in turn supported by grants from the Ford Foundation, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the San Francisco Foundation. While three songs already appear, with musical notations and recorded, in Mr. Siva’s book and CD, Voices of the Flute (Ushkana Press, 2004), a goal is to share more in future publications.

Read more about Ernest Siva and Isaac Horsman Rodriguez’s apprenticeship in Bighorn Sheep Songs on the Alliance’s website.


A Modern Old Journey

Master artist Ernest Siva (right) and apprentice Isaac Rodriguez

Master artist Ernest Siva (right) and
apprentice Isaac Horsman Rodriguez in front of the Dorothy Ramon Learning Center in Banning where their Bighorn Sheep Song lessons take place (see Saving the Bighorn Sheep Songs profile above).  The Center is named after the late Serrano language and cultural activist Dorothy Ramon, aunt to Siva and great-grandaunt to Horsman Rodriguez.
Photo: Sherwood Chen

By Ernest H. Siva

Ancient journey is probably a more fitting reference for our project: The Bighorn Sheep Songs.  Even though we acknowledge that these are ancient songs that served an ancient way of life, we are also mindful that the process of passing the songs from one generation to the next is wrought with innovations of learning and teaching.  Our lifestyles differ from the past.  No longer do we depend on the bighorn sheep and other natural offerings of the land for life.  Agriculture and modern industry has changed everyone’s lifestyles.  The Indians, perhaps, have experienced the most dramatic changes.

Long ago, it seems the tutoring of singing began in the womb.  Families of ceremonial singers were treated to special songs that would only be heard by the average individual on special occasions (Waka’ch in Serrano).  My cousin L. Marcus, rest his soul, learned the songs from his father Louie, who perhaps, epitomized the life of a traditional singer.  Mrs. Marcus related to me once, that she remembers hearing the senior Marcus sing while he made the fire and prepared breakfast for his grandson. The singing was just as much a part of the picture in her mind as the stirring of the oatmeal in the pot and the crackling of the fire.  Every Friday night father and son would sing the different song series.  The Bighorn Sheep Songs were among these.

Read more about Bighorn Sheep Songs and Ernest Siva and Isaac Horsman Rodriguez’s apprenticeship on the Alliance’s website.


An Apprenticeship in Son Jarocho Luthiery

Apprentice Juan Francisco Parroquin (left) and master artist Jorge Mijangos

Apprentice Juan Francisco Parroquin (left) and master artist Jorge Mijangos with Parroquin's first guitarra de son in-progress in Mijangos’ workshop.
Photo: Sherwood Chen

By Sherwood Chen, Associate Director, Alliance for California Traditional Arts

Son Jarocho encompasses traditions in music, dance, and vocal improvisation from Veracruz, the Mexican east-central state which rides against the Gulf of Mexico. Son Jarocho’s roots represent a merging of African, indigenous, and Spanish influences. The percussive rhythms, syncopation, vocal style and improvisation in its harmonic and rhythmic framework and verse characterize its style. In addition to singing improvised, often ribald verses exchanged between singers through decimas, its musical legacy includes instruments like the harp, percussion including the pandero, cajón and quijada (an instrument made of a donkey or horse jawbone), and the stringed jarana and requinto jarocho which vary in sizes and are key characteristics of son jarocho music.

Master Jarocho luthier and musician Jorge Mijangos of Ventura is working with Los Angeles-based Juan Francisco Parroquin as part of this year’s Apprenticeship Program, focusing on jarocho luthiery, particularly focusing upon the guitarra de son (also referred to as requinto or javalina), a guitar of varying sizes with four to five strings. Where the eight-stringed jarana provides a rhythmic framework to son jarocho music, the guitarra de son is used to improvise bold, percussive melody lines.

Read more about Jorge Mijangos and Juan Francisco Parroquin’s apprenticeship in son jarocho luthiery on the Alliance’s website.


Attention Contra Costa County Artists and Organizations!

The Arts & Culture Commission of Contra Costa County (AC5) has launched a new online Directory.  Creating an account with the directory will help create a clearer profile of the arts community in Contra Costa County, and will help AC5 to better advocate for the arts on their behalf.  Organizations and individuals engaged in the arts have the opportunity to create their own webpage on AC5's Directory, where events can be posted to the community calendar, and samples of work can be uploaded.  Organizations and individuals who already have websites have the option of simply providing a description and a link to their own webpage on their AC5 Directory profile.

The Directory is a user-maintained site that will become the go-to, online location for learning about arts events and everything arts-related in Contra Costa County and the surrounding area.  Creating an account on the Directory is free and easy.

For more information, please visit AC5’s website.



The Alliance's Traditional Arts Development Program

Deadline: Ongoing

The Alliance’s Traditional Arts Development Program makes contracts up to $1,500 to support consultancies, mentorships, and travel opportunities that foster a new level of growth for individual folk & traditional artists and organizations engaged in this field in California.  Requested services may be focused on organizational, program, and/or artistic development goals.  Individual artists and cultural practitioners, as well as organizations, whether incorporated or not, may apply.

A sampling of past contracts include:

Artistic Mentorships

Gen Taiko (San Francisco), an organization dedicated to promoting, preserving and presenting Japanese traditional arts including taiko (traditional Japanese drumming), traditional folk dance, and folk song forms. Its artistic director, Melody Takata, was trained by National Heritage Fellow Madame Fujima Kansuma to learn the Nihon Buyo (Japanese classical) dance called Kojo No Tsuki (Moonlit Castle Ruins). Ms. Takata taught the dance to four of her students and performed it at Gen Taiko’s 10th Anniversary Concert in November 2005.

Organizational Consultancies:

Kwashi Amevuvor (Los Angeles), a master drummer from Ghana, West Africa, worked with consultant Janet Planet, who assisted him with marketing and web design to develop professional promotional materials to publicize the work of the artist and the traditional cultural arts of Ghana. In addition, Ms. Planet’s consultancy supported Mr. Amevuvor’s efforts in organizing a cultural study tour of Ghana.

Travel Opportunities

The Eszterlánc Hungarian Folk Ensemble (Foster City) traveled to Southern California to perform for an audience of over two thousand at the annual Magyar Sajtónap (Hungarian Press Day) hosted by the newspaper California Hungarians. At this event Eszterlanc dancers had the opportunity to perform with members of the Karpatok Folk Ensemble of Southern California, which is led by Istvan Szabo.

Requests for organizational consultancies, artistic mentoring, and travel support may be submitted to the Alliance at any time.  Download the application and application instructions from the Alliance’s website or call (559) 237-9812 to request a copy be mailed to you.

The Alliance’s Traditional Arts Development Program is supported by grants from the California Arts Council, the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Native Arts @ NEFA
National Native Artist Exchange
New England Foundation for the Arts

Deadline – Ongoing

The Native Artist Exchange, a program of the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), provides support for Native artists residing in any of the 50 United States to travel to different regions of the country so that they may exchange artistic knowledge and skills. This fund is designed to encourage and assist American Indian, Alaskan Native and Native Hawaiian artists, and provides an opportunity for Native artists to teach, learn, and collaborate in traditional and/or contemporary Native art forms through travel from one region to another across the nation.

For more information, including guidelines and application materials, visit the New England Foundation for the Arts’ website.


The Guitar Center Music Foundation

Deadline – Ongoing

The Guitar Center Music Foundation’s mission is to aid nonprofit music programs across America that offer music instruction so that more people can experience the joys of making music.

The Guitar Center Music Foundation accepts grant applications throughout the year from 501(c)(3) organizations that offer music instruction programs to participants of any age.  The applicant program must successfully enhance the state of music education in the United States.  The Grant Committee reviews all applications three times yearly, and grant awards range from $500 to $5,000.

For more information visit the Guitar Center Music Foundation’s website.


Apprenticeship Program
Alliance for California Traditional Arts

Deadline: August 1, 2008

The Alliance’s Apprenticeship Program encourages the continuation of the state’s traditional arts and cultures by contracting master artists to offer intensive, one-on-one training to qualified apprentices.  Each contract will support a period of concentrated learning for individuals who have shown a commitment to and a talent for a specific artistic tradition.  Contracts of $3,000 will be made with California-based master artists to cover master artist’s fees, supplies, and travel.  Information about past Alliance apprenticeships is available on the Alliance’s website.

Guidelines and application forms are now available online.  Alternatively, please call (415) 346-3800 to request a copy be mailed to you.  The postmark deadline for submission of applications is August 1, 2008.

The Alliance’s Apprenticeship Program is funded by The Columbia Foundation, the Fresno Arts Council, The Walter & Elise Haas Fund, The James Irvine Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support provided by the California Arts Council, the California Community Foundation, and The San Francisco Foundation.

For More Information Contact

Sherwood Chen
Associate Director
(415) 346-3800


Creative Connections Fund
James Irvine Foundation

Deadline: August 1, 2008

The Creative Connections Fund supports creativity and the expansion of diverse, relevant cultural offerings in local communities across California and primarily outside the San Francisco Bay Area.  The Creative Connections Fund aims to reach small and midsize arts organizations with a diversity of projects and ideas.  The Fund offers project grants of up to $50,000, over one or two years, through an open, competitive review process

For more information, including guidelines and application materials, visit the James Irvine Foundation’s website.


Access to Artistic Development
National Endowment for the Arts

Deadline: August 11, 2008

Access to Artistic Excellence encourages and supports artistic creativity, preserves our diverse cultural heritage, and makes the arts more widely available in communities throughout the country. While projects in this category may focus on just one of these areas, the Arts Endowment recognizes that many of the most effective projects encompass both artistic excellence and enhanced access.

For more information, including guidelines and application instructions, visit the National Endowment for the Arts’ website.


2008 Choreographer Collaboration Awards

Deadline: August 14, 2008

The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation are pleased to announce their 2008 Choreographer Collaboration Awards Program.  The foundations will provide up to six grants of $75,000 each for the commission and premiere of six major new dance compositions, created by California choreographers in collaboration with other California artists.

These grants will be available to nonprofit Bay Area arts presenting organizations.  They will be aimed at California choreographers of great merit, each working in close collaboration with another California artist of their choosing (choreographer, composer, playwright, digital media artist, filmmaker, designer or other).  The resulting dance compositions will have their world premiere public performances in the Bay Area between December 2009 and June 2011.  Proposed commissions for original works in any dance style or format will be accepted.  Applicant organizations must be nonprofit and based in the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo, Solano or Sonoma.

For more information, including guidelines and application materials, please visit the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation’s website.


Scandinavian Cultural Exchange
American-Scandinavian Foundation

Deadline: August 15, 2008 and October 1, 2008

The American-Scandinavian Foundation promotes the cultures of the Nordic countries in the United States and American culture in the Nordic countries by encouraging programs that will enhance public appreciation of culture, art, and thought. In establishing priorities, the Foundation considers the lasting benefits that may be achieved by any grant, and favors projects where its contribution will complement support from other sources.

For more information, including guidelines and application materials, visit the American-Scandinavian Foundation’s website.


Opportunities & Resources

Online Training Courses to Master Proposal Writing

The Foundation Center hosts several online training courses in proposal writing.  The Statement of Need helps novice or inexperienced grantseekers master a critical component of proposal writing – preparing a statement of need.  The Project Description is an in-depth look into the preparation and writing of the project description section of a proposal.  The Budget demystifies the preparation of the project budget included in funding proposals.  The Comprehensive Course is a thorough, step-by-step guide to preparing an effective proposal for foundation support, covering every section of the proposal.  The courses include interactive exercises and assignments, case studies, a final exam, and a printable certificate of completion.  Lessons can be taken at any pace, and can be reviewed often.  For more information visit the Foundation Center’s website.



What's New



Opportunities & Resources


The Alliance for California Traditional Arts strives to "ensure California's future holds California's past" by providing programs and services to support the state's diverse living cultural heritage. The Alliance cultivates the growth of traditional arts and culture through Stewardship, Services to Artists, and Connection-Making.

Support ACTA



Amy Kitchener, Executive

Sherwood Chen, Associate Director

Lily Kharrazi, Living Cultures Grants Program Manager

Suzanne Hildebrand, Administrative Coordinator
The New Moon Editor


Robert Arroyo, V.P. of Finance & Administration
Retired Instructor of Political Science & Chicano/Latino Studies, Fresno City College;
Retired Administrator, Fresno City College
Kingsburg, CA

Melanie Beene
Executive Director, Community Initiative Funds
San Francisco Foundation
San Francisco, CA

Jo Farb Hernandez, Secretary
Director, Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery, School of Art and Design, San Jose State University
Director, SPACES
Principal, Curatorial and Museum Management Services
Watsonville, CA

Joel Jacinto,
Executive Director, Search to Involve Pilipino Americans
Los Angeles, CA

Sojin Kim, Ph.D.
Curator,History Department, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Los Angeles, CA

Amy Kitchener (ex officio)
Executive Director, ACTA
Fresno, CA

Frank LaPena
Professor Emeritus, American Indian Studies, CSU Sacramento;
Traditional Maidu dance master; Visual Visual Artist
Sacramento, CA

Malcolm Margolin
Founder and Publisher, Heyday Books
Executive Director, Heyday Institute
Berkeley , CA

Libby Maynard
Co-founder and Executive Director, Ink People Center for the Arts
Eureka, CA 

Chike Nwoffiah, V.P. of External Development
Executive Director, Oriki Theatre
Mountain View, CA

Peter Pennekamp, Executive Director
Humboldt Area Foundation
Bayside, CA

Charlie Seemann, Board President
Executive Director, Western Folklife Center
Elko, NV

Daniel Sheehy, Ph.D.
V.P. of Governance
CEO, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
Washington, D.C.

Deborah Wong, Ph.D.
Professor of Music
University of California, Riverside


Bess Lomax Hawes
Retired Former Director, Folk & Traditional Arts Program, National Endowment for the Arts
Woodland Hills, CA


California Arts Council

Fresno Arts Council

National Endowment for the Arts

The James Irvine Foundation

Walter & Elise Haas Fund

William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

The San Francisco Foundation


San Francisco Arts Commission

California Community Foundation


Mi Coche – My Culture: Livin’ the Lowrider Lifestyle

Kumeyaay: Indigenous People of Southern California

La Sonora Dinamita

Patanjali: Legends of Yoga and Dance

Fiesta Argentina 2008: Siempre Tango

Karim Nagi Workshops

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