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‹ Cultivating Indigenous Voices

Ep. 9: Growing Up Waila

May 27, 2018

Ep. 9: Growing Up Waila
Cultivating Indigenous Voices

00:00 / 45:03

In this episode you will hear from Gertrude Lopez also known as Gertie, share her story growing up beside her dad Augustine Lopez Sr., listening, learning, and carrying traditional waila music. The music once known as chicken scratch has been around about 100 years. It represents styles of polka, mazurka, cumbia, etc. It has been recorded that back in the 1800’s during the missionary times, O’odham were recruited to perform during church processions. It was then that the Spanish sound influenced what waila music sounds like today. In Gertie’s younger days female waila musicians was a rarity and little did she know she would eventually take on a leadership role managing an entire band. Gertie discusses the challenges she faced as a female lead of a band and begins by sharing the starting point of becoming a musician. The transitions throughout her musical career helped her to learn more than one instrument. Throughout those year’s Gertie learned how to play the guitar, trumpet, drums, bass, percussion, keyboard and accordion. Her talents along with other waila musicians have taken her and her band across the U.S. as far as New York city! During the interview, as a singer/songwriter, she talks about how she composed one her most popular songs titled “Sheila’s Rasta”, which the crowd quickly grew to appreciate and still love till this day. The discussion carries on by Gertie sharing pieces of success she has had and the drive that pushes her to keep on going. Her late father being her biggest inspiration behind the music, is a huge part of why she continues to represent a long history of waila music from past to present. In today’s waila scene you see more female waila musicians carrying on this once male dominated genre of music throughout the O’odham community. Although, up till now Gertie is still the only female lead of a waila band on the Tohono O’odham Nation.

Gertie and co-host Carmen
Gertie Lopez and Tina Andrew

gertie lopez,   gertie lopez & the t.o. boyz,   kxci podcasts,   o'odham podcasts,   Tohono O'odham,   waila music,  


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