A concert held at Hazard Community and Technical College and several area schools last week gave a glimpse into the Native American culture and emphasized the importance of preserving traditions.
Robert Mirabal, a two-time Grammy Award winning performer and songwriter who specializes in music with strong ties to his Native American heritage, preformed several times during his visit to Hazard.
On Tuesday, Oct. 23, he visited Willard Elementary School and held two workshops for the fifth grade students. He then performed at Jackson Independent Schools and Dennis Wooton Elementary the following day, and on Thursday hosted a concert at the First Federal building for around 560 students from many schools in the area. The concert was a shorter preview of the show that was open to the public later in the day.
Mirabal has created music that crosses genres, mixing traditional instruments from several native tribes with rock and even hip hop music. He grew up in New Mexico among the Pueblo. It was there that he found his love of music. He played many instruments in school but discovered his musical voice with Native American flutes. He is now world-renowned for making his traditional flutes. Some of his instruments have even displayed at the Smithsonian Institute’s Museum of the American Indian.
The Thursday shows included several traditional dancers and his full band. He used several different flutes he had created in the show. During the show for students earlier in the day, Mirabal gave away one of his necklaces that he designed and crafted himself to be a symbol of friendship.
Mirabal’s shows and lectures emphasize love of culture. He told the students that they need to love honor and perpetuate their culture so that the traditions never fade.