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Jazz fusion concert tonight at monument visitor center plaza

Jazz fusion band D'DAT will perform at national monuments and national conservation areas this summer. (Courtesy D'DAT)
Summer concert part of a BLM artist-in-residence program

There will be a free jazz concert tonight at the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument Visitor Center, located 3 miles east of Dolores on Colorado Highway 184.

Jazz-hip hop band Delbert Anderson and D’DAT will perform a free concert Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the plaza. Bring a chair or blanket if needed.

The concert is part of D’DAT’s Painted Mountains Tour and Bureau of Land Management artist-in-residence program. The band is performing “summer jazz fusion” concerts and hosting music workshops at six national monuments and conservation areas this summer throughout the West.

It is the first time BLM’s artist-in-residence program features a band performing a cross-country tour on public lands. Tonight’s concert also celebrates the monument’s 22nd birthday.

D’DAT performs a combination of jazz, funk and hip-hop that appeals to people of all backgrounds. Anderson, a member of the Navajo Tribe, grew up in Farmington and teaches jazz ensemble at San Juan College.

He and his band held a music workshop at the Canyons of the Ancients museum Tuesday.

Throughout the artist-in-residence tour, Anderson and D’DAT will spend time at each location with local tribes researching Indigenous land stories and music.

“As an Indigenous person, I believe that the land heals us,” Anders stated in a news release. “In this project, we intend to show that the land can continue to do that today."

A free public workshop allows for residents to learn about music composition and help compose original pieces of music.

Mar 28, 2022
Summer jazz fusion concerts celebrate Indigenous connection to public lands

“We share how we compose and arrange our songs, how to use your experiences and culture to be yourself and create music,” Anderson said. “When you make art with someone, you connect with them on a different level. It has a spiritual value that goes beyond shaking someone's hand."

The 12 songs inspired from visiting the six areas will be made into an album.

The schedule:

  • June 14-15: Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.
  • June 17-18: Bears Ears National Monument.
  • June 23-24: Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area in Idaho.
  • June 27-28: Oregon’s Lower Deschutes River.
  • July 2, 4: California’s King Range National Conservation Area.
  • July 8-9: Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in New Mexico.

In an interview with The Journal, Anderson said D’DAT fuses Navajo spinning songs into their modern jazz and hip hop compositions. A traditional Diné spinning song uses a method to create a new song based on the present moment and passes it on to the next generation.

Anderson has been researching the tradition with elders since finding a tape of the songs from the 1920s.

Attendees of a free jazz concert tonight at the CANM visitors center will also enjoy the plaza’s amazing gardens. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)

“They had songs for everything — love, war, ceremonies and healing. The spinning songs I was influenced by were those with messages to our youth about minding manners,” Anderson said.

Elders compare the process to a tornado.

“Everything is spinning around, and what gets spit out is the new song,” he said.