The 1960s saw the beginning of a Native-American renaissance in America in which Native groups and communities found a new resurgence of Native identity.
This resurgence was partnered with a renewed respect and interest among the population at large for Native American culture and traditions, including their ancestral lifeways, spirituality, crafts and music, and during this time, many Natives and non-Natives alike worked to collect and preserve the tribal histories, stories and songs as remembered by the passing tribal elders.
“Songs of the California Indians – Vol. 1: Concow, Nisenan, Mountain Maidu” was the result of one of these efforts. Originally produced as a vinyl LP in 1975, this long out-of-print album has recently been re-issued by the Plumas County Museum as a CD.
Containing 60 authentic Concow, Nisenan and Mountain Maidu songs collected between 1965 and 1974 by Coyote Man (Robert Rathbun) and sung by such respected Native elders and singers as Tom Epperson, Frank Day, Bryan Beavers, Herb Young, Lizzie Enos, Marie Potts, Jasper Peconom, and others, the CD offers a collection of songs that have been sung for thousands of years throughout northern California including Plumas, Butte, Yuba, Placer and Sierra counties.
The songs, ranging from animal songs to courting songs; gambling songs; songs of wind, water and rain; and even songs concerning ancient ceremonies and the sacred, are accompanied by traditional Maidu musical instruments and take the listener on an extraordinary audio journey into the traditional world of the Maidu people.
The Plumas County Museum is proud to offer this resource of authentic Maidu songs once more to the public in the hope that it furthers a better understanding and appreciation of the peoples and history of the local area.
For more information, contact the museum at 283-6320. Located at 500 Jackson St. in Quincy, the museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 to 4 p.m. and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.