VOLUME 7, NO. 6
November 19, 2009 
About Us
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.

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Upcoming Events

Performing Diaspora Festival
Nov 5 - Nov 22, 2009
San Francisco, CA

The Tenth Annual San Francisco World Music Festival
Nov 13 - Nov 22, 2009
San Francisco, CA

Bharathiar's Pudumai Penn (A Vision for the New-Age Woman)
Nov 21, 2009
San Jose, CA

Celebrate Chaksam-pa's 20th Anniversary this Saturday
Nov 21 - Nov 22, 2009
Oakland, CA

The Future of the Past: Traditional Kathak Solo by Labonee Mohanta
Nov 22, 2009
San Francisco, CA

Drone Magic - 7th Annual San Francisco International Bagpipe Festival
Dec 5, 2009
San Francisco, CA

A Guatemalan Christmas
Dec 12, 2009
Berkeley, CA

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Current Exhibits

American Masterpieces: The Artistic Legacy of California Indian Basketry
Mar 14 - Mar 14, 2010
Sacramento, CA

Japanese Papercraft: Miko Dolls
Oct 1 - Mar 1, 2010
Oakland, CA

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 An Apprenticeship in Tibetan Damnyen, Yul Shae and Tho Shae Songs        

Alliance for California Traditional ArtsTibetan music is deeply rooted in the spiritual tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. For thousands of years, music and dance were used to revere local deities who are considered the protectors of Tibetan's environment. Through these traditions, musicians make connections to the spirit of nature and ask for support and protection. Until 1950, these traditional music forms lived only in communities in Tibet. After China's occupation of Tibet, the rich traditions of Tibetan music, dance, and drama were supressed. In the early 1960's, a group of master musicians went into exile in India and began slowly teaching these traditions to the younger generation. San Mateo-based musician and songwriter-in-exile Tashi Dhondup Sharzur (aka Techung) was one of the students to learn from these exiled masters.

Techung participated in ACTA's 2009 Apprenticeship Program with his daughter Yangchen Lhamo in San Mateo and El Cerrito, California. During their apprenticeship, instruction in Yul Shae (folk songs) and Tho Shae (light classical songs from Central Tibet) offered Lhamo a proper introduction to the damnyen (Tibetan six-stringed lute). Instruction in Tho Shae singing trained Lhamo's ability to strum and play the damnyen while singing. As a young teenager in exile in Dharamsala, India, Techung learned to play the damnyen from the late Gen Lusta. In addition to the damnyen, Techung was instructed in Yul Shae and Tho Shae. Techung has performed in India, the United States and Tibet as a soloist and educator, and in 1989 co-founded San Francisco-based Chaksam-Pa Tibetan Dance and Opera Company alongside Sonam Tashi and Lhamo's mother Tsering Wangmo.

Watch the video below for excerpts of Techung's and Lhamo's lessons together in El Cerrito:

New Moon Video

In the below video, Tsering Wangmo and Lhamo sing the Tibetan folk song Konshey Loyak in El Cerrito, California. The song and its accompanying dance is usually performed at auspicious times including Losar (Tibetan New Year), weddings and other ceremonies.

New Moon Video

Keeping Their Language Alive: Kawaiisu Language and Cultural Center Launches Website

Alliance for California Traditional Arts"Nuwa, without our language, who are we?" is the fundamental question appearing prominently at the top of the Kawaiisu Language and Cultural Center's new website.  Indeed, just a few short years ago only several individuals could speak the Kawaiisu native language.  Realizing that keeping their language alive was crucial to sustaining their culture, several individuals began to work together to ensure their language would never be lost.

The Kawaiisu, also known as the Nuwa, are indigenous to Kern County.  The tribe inhabited the region from Bakersfield to Tehachapi for thousands of years.  Relocation by the United States government resulted in a loss of much of tribe's traditional dress, music, and knowledge.  Today, the Kawaiisu numbers just under 300 people and is not a federally recognized tribe.  Realizing that there were only five native speakers and little knowledge of the tribe's traditional stories or survival skills, several individuals came together to pass this important knowledge on to others.

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