Elisa Harkins, Wampum
Wampum / ᎠᏕᎳ ᏗᎦᎫᏗ
May 24 | 7 p.m.
Te Ata Theater
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Wampum / ᎠᏕᎳ ᏗᎦᎫᏗ is an ongoing project in which Elisa Harkins sings in a combination of Cherokee, English and Muscogee (Creek) to electronic dance music, some of which is inspired by sheet music of Indigenous music notated by Daniel Chazanoff during the 20th century. As an act of Indigenous Futurism, it combines disco and Indigenous language in an effort to alter the fate of these endangered languages through active use, preservation on pressed vinyl and radio play.
The performance of Wampum / ᎠᏕᎳ ᏗᎦᎫᏗ is referring to the wampum belts and Indigenous peacekeeping, as well as the Cherokee use of wampum beads as currency. ᎠᏕᎳ ᏗᎦᎫᏗ, pronounced a-de-la di-ga-gu-di, can be translated to “money on a string.”
The intention of Wampum / ᎠᏕᎳ ᏗᎦᎫᏗ performance is to create a metaphorical peacekeeping agreement that is between the people watching the piece, regardless of tribe or race.
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About the Creator
Elisa Harkins is a Native American (Cherokee/Muscogee) artist and composer based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her work is concerned with translation, language preservation and Indigenous musicology. Harkins uses the Cherokee and Mvskoke languages, electronic music, sculpture and the body as her tools. She has exhibited her work at Crystal Bridges, documenta 14, The Hammer Museum, The Heard Museum and Vancouver Art Gallery. Harkins is also the DJ of Mvhayv Radio, an Indigenous radio show on 91.1FM in Tulsa, Oklahoma and 99.1FM in Indianapolis, Indiana.