for pipe organ, piano, and shaman
Buddy Hayes grew up and lives alone in Snaketown, a desolate unincorporated area in the Gila River Indian Community, among the archaeological remains of an ancient Hohokam village. The august Akimel O'odham man leads spiritual ceremonies in his home, a unique and sometimes frightening invocation of visions.
It is a singular, transcendental religion whose only member is its prophet.
Years ago, Buddy lost his bid as a write-in candidate for lieutenant governor on the Gila River Indian tribal council. Upset by his defeat, he drove his pickup truck aimlessly around the outskirts of Sacaton on a stormy monsoon night. His truck died, he wandered into a windy alfalfa field, he tripped and was knocked unconscious. He awoke to find a great horned owl perched on his chest, looking piercingly into his eyes. The owl hooted, ruffled its feathers, and raised its outstretched wings when a flash of lightning struck them both. Buddy experienced a powerful vision of an immeasurably large owl deity with feathers made of flint knives giving birth to new universes, mirages, and rainbows. The owl was the personification of death and universal knowledge, and its tongue shot lightning bolts. Buddy, forever altered, continues to carry Yatayawahey's unspeakable name within.
This collection of recordings documents one of Buddy's late night shamanic rituals, in which I accompanied him on pipe organ.