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date: 24 January 2021


  • J. Richard Haefer


Generic term for Anglo instruments used by the Tohono O’odham (Papago) Indians of Southern Arizona and Northern Sonora, Mexico. Piastakuḍ (‘fiesta thing’) refers to those instruments used to perform waila (social dance music; from the Spanish bailar, called ‘chicken scratch’ by Anglos) and pascola dance tunes. They include the gi:dal (guitar), kuikud (flute, saxophone, trumpet, or clarinet), wi:olin (violin), a:lpa (harp), wañamdam (accordian), and tamblo (drum). In the mid-19th century the O’odham began to borrow polka, schottische, and two-step tunes played by guitar, saxophone, accordion, and drums from nearby Anglo communities and incorporate them within their all-night keihina social dance, imparting to them the O’odham concepts of traditional ñe’i (song), that is, assigning specific songs to certain portions of the dance cycle: sundown songs, midnight songs, sunrise songs. O’odham distinctly consider these songs and instruments as their own and not as Anglo music. In like manner, pascola, with harp and violin, was borrowed from their neighbouring Yaqui Indians....

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