Hopi musician Casper Lomayesva calls his music edu-tainment. “Most non-natives aren’t familiar with Native American culture,” he says. “We communicate our culture through our music. We educate and entertain at the same time.”
“Most non-natives aren’t familiar with Native American culture,” he says. “We communicate our culture through our music. We educate and entertain at the same time.”
Based in the East Valley for the past 15 years, Lomayesva’s band, Casper and the Mighty 602, is an eclectic mix of traditional native music combined with reggae.
The entertainment reverberates through traditional tribal chants and heavy reggae drums, combined to create a unique, upbeat sound.
The education is derived from uplifting lyrics that plead for an end to methamphetamine use and social injustice.
“What separates us is the message in our music,” says Lomayesva. “We’re about the upliftment of the human race.”
This weekend Casper and the Mighty 602 and about a half dozen other performers will entertain and educate at the annual Native American Recognition Days at the Desert Botanical Garden.
This is the sixth year the event has been held at the Desert Botanical Garden, although in the past it was geared more toward arts and crafts and jewelry vendors.
This year the event is about recognizing American Indian culture through entertainment.
“It is a lot different,” says Courtney Goff, special events coordinator for the Desert Botanical Garden. “This year is strictly music and performance art.”
Performers include the band Clan/Destine and traditional basket dancers Hashen Kuhk.
Festivals like are important because they spread awareness about what his culture is about, says Lomayesva.
“Not all of us are beads and feathers. We have a lot of variety, just like any other culture,” he says. “This is good for the community because it represents our culture.”
Native American Recognition Days
When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Where: Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix
Cost: $10 adults, $9 seniors, $4 for children 3-12, free for garden members
Information: (480) 941-1225 or www.dbg.org