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date: 14 July 2020


  • Gary Tegler
  • , revised by Kay Edwards


Native Americans inhabiting the coast of California from north of Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo and inland. The Chumash are part of the California-Yuman musical region identified by Bruno Nettl. Because of epidemics in the 1800s, which severely reduced the population, and assimilation by the Spanish mission system and boarding schools, traditional Chumash musical practices have almost disappeared.

The Chumash practiced several traditional genres of songs. Work songs coordinated the work of groups: of this sort was the Canoe song, sung as the men rowed their boats in the Santa Barbara Channel. There were also lullabies, gambling or game songs, healing songs, and songs to teach morals to children. Ceremonial songs included those for the recently deceased, for ancestors, and to honor such mythological characters as Coyote, Eagle, Bear, Dolphin, and Swordfish, as well as songs performed by members of the Antap secret society, the members of which sought to exercise control over the natural and supernatural worlds....

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