Exo is proud to announce a performance by one of the premiere Waila bands in Arizona. We have dreamed of such a show for a long time and are happy to announce this special performance!
Read below to find out more about Waila music and Gertie's career. We will be selling tickets to this show and bring your dancing shoes for this one!
Ofelia Zepeda, who will open the evening with her poems read in O'odham and English, is presented in collaboration with Kore Press. Ofelia is a MacArthur Genius Fellow, poet, renowned language preservationist, and professor of Linguistics and Native American Studies at the University of Arizona
“GertieNtheT0.Boyz” is one of the premiere ‘Waila’ Bands playing a mix of traditional and new Waila music. All band members are also members of the Tohono O’odham Nation which is located in Southwestern and Central Arizona. The name “Tohono O’odham”, abbreviated to “T.O.” in our name, means “Desert People”
The Band consists of an Accordion, Saxophone, Violin, Bass, Bajo Sexto, and Drums and Percussion. The term “Waila” translates into the word “Dance” and is the most popular social dance music on the Tohono O’odham Nation. Waila music includes several varieties of polkas, chote’s (two-steps), Cumbias, Mazurka, and also Kwalya which is a type of square dance which is danced to at festivities of all occasions.
Gertrude Lopez, better known as Gertie, is the only female band leader on the Tohono O’odham Nation.
The band has performed all over the state of Arizona to include Inaugural performances for Native American Tribes. The Band was nominated in the 2010 Native American Music Awards in the Waila Category. Gertie was nominated in 2012 for the Arizona’s Governor Award as a Musician Artist. In 2013 the band won third place at the Wa:k Indian Days Battle of the Bands. Gertie also won the Best Accordion award. In 2014 Gertie was recognized for her Waila Music and received a Community Service award from Borderland Theaters.
Ofelia Zepeda is a member of the Tohono O’odham (formerly Papago) Nation, and grew up in Stanfield, Arizona. She earned a BA, an MA, and a PhD in linguistics from the University of Arizona. She is the author of a grammar of the Tohono O'odham language, A Papago Grammar (1983). Zepeda’s poetry collections include Ocean Power: Poems from the Desert (1995) and Jewed’l-hoi/Earth Movements, O’Odham Poems (1996).
Zepeda’s poetry touches on linguistics, O’odham traditions, the natural world, and the experience of contemporary O’odham life. Her work is influenced by traditional Papago themes and songs. Dennis Holt identified the “cultural mélange” of her work, commenting that “a number of Zepeda’s poems display varying patterns of bilingualism, including code-switching and immediate interlinear translation.
Her bilingual CD and chapbook, Jewed 'I-Hoi / Earth Movements (Kore Press 1997, 2005), will be available for sale at the event.