Navajo recording artist promotes music in Australia

By Glenda Rae Davis
Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK, September 20, 2012

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C anyon Records recording artist Delphine Tsinajinnie's longtime dream of going on vacation Down Under became a reality in July when she visited Melbourne, Australia.

Having mixed business with pleasure, Tsinajinnie not only learned about animals and trees, but also gave the Australia natives a taste of her Native American music as she was featured on the Melbourne radio station "3ZZZ".

Of the trees, Tsinajinnie said, "The trees are like the kind you see in Dr. Seuss books."

"3ZZZ can be heard over a radius of about 120km (74.5 mi) from Melbourne on the FM band and on the digital network," said Orietta Wheatley, a DJ at the radio station, in an email to the Navajo Times.

Tsinajinnie, who is To'aheedliinii and born for Tl'izi lani, was featured on the station's Women's World Program, which focuses on "Issues such as health and nutrition; the arts, music, films, exhibitions, books; promote an understanding of other cultures," said Wheatley.

The program also features women "who are doing interesting things or making a difference in the community," Wheatley added.

Since Canyon Records has been distributing its music worldwide for more than 10 years, their artist being on an Australian radio program was not anything new for the label.

Canyon Records director of promotions Kathy Norris set up the interview with the radio station when Tsinajinnie informed her that she was going to Australia for vacation.


"We try to have some type of promotion set up with radio stations when any of our artists go somewhere," said Norris in a phone interview. "We try to make sure they have copies of their albums on hand too."

During her time on air, Tsinajinnie discussed Navajo music and culture including the importance of the corn grinding songs in Navajo society.

"I explained the process of corn grinding with the grinding stone and what the ground corn is used for," said Tsinajinnie in a phone interview with the Navajo Times. "It was an opportunity that I took to share something they would find different."

Tsinajinnie sang her rendition of a song usually sung during the grinding of corn as well as her song called "Sandoval's Jig," both from her album titled Mother's Word.

"I found the visit very interesting," said Tsinajinnie, who is originally from Rock Point, Ariz. "Any place that you go to is similar to pictures that you see but when you're actually there it's a completely different experience. I really enjoyed the…diversity in the media. I just found everything about my trip fascinating."

Although there was no interaction with the listeners, Wheatly said she was sure Tsinajinnie's visit was welcomed by all who tuned in.

"We enjoyed Delphine's participation in our program," said Wheatly. "It was an opportunity to learn about a different culture."

Tsinajinnie signed with Canyon Records in 2001 and has since released one album called Mother's Word. Additionally, she has been featured in two of Canyon Records compilation albums called "Voices Across the Canyon" and "Enter Tribal".

"I do stylized performances of traditional music," Tsinajinnie said about her music. "Stylized meaning I change the rhythm a bit from what it sounds like traditionally."

Norris said currently Tsinajinnie and Canyon Records are planning a second album.

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