Robert Mirabal (Taos Pueblo, born 1966), The Society, 2023. Original music composition, 33:42 min. Courtesy the artist.
Robert Mirabal’s atmospheric composition The Society plays on a continuous loop throughout the galleries of the Colby Museum’s Lunder Wing, which is home to the Painted: Our Bodies, Hearts, and Village exhibition. Mirabal, a musician, composer, storyteller, and farmer, created this commissioned soundscape as a reflection of his own experience of Taos Pueblo as a tribal member. In Mozart Abeyta’s film, Through Eyes That Capture Us, also commissioned for the exhibition, Mirabal describes life in Taos Pueblo during the “quiet season”:
[During my childhood growing up in Taos Pueblo], during quiet season … there were the bylaws, the laws that we were given, not by men, not by man, but these were the earthly laws that were placed up on us [as Taos Pueblo people]. Everything from storytelling, [to being] in the village at a certain time, the corn had to be put in at a certain time, those were the seasonal calendars of life and everyone followed them and everyone had a biological connection to every family that was there. Because at any given time, you hear laughter in one place and crying in one place. Death happening and birth at the same time. Everyone living and breathing at the same time…you were all dreaming at the same time, there are hundreds of people living inside the village dreaming at the same time, eating the same food, dancing the same things, hearing the same things.
Robert Mirabal is a Pueblo musician and Native American flute player and maker from Taos Pueblo, New Mexico. His flutes are world-renowned and have been displayed at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of the American Indian. An award-winning musician and leading proponent of world music, Mirabal performs worldwide, sharing flute songs, tribal rock, dance, and storytelling. Mirabal was twice named the Native American Music Awards’ Artist of the Year, and received the Songwriter of the Year award three times. He was featured in Grammy Award winning album, Sacred Ground: A Tribute to Mother Earth in 2006 for Best Native American Music Album. Aside from his artistic talents, Mirabal is a father and a farmer, living in Taos Pueblo and participating in the traditional ways and rituals of his people.
Listen to The Society: