Flushing Town Hall to Present 13 MOONS Featuring GrayHawk Perkins and Mezcal Jazz Unit, 2/28
An estimated 7000 languages may vanish by the end of the century. Come learn and sing with Grayhawk and keep the Mobilian language alive! Fun for ALL ages!
13 Moons features GrayHawk Perkins, a New Orleans-born Native American from the Choctaw and Houma tribes, who will perform a unique blend of blues, folk and jazz intertwined with tribal rhythms, language and storytelling, with the France-based Mezcal Jazz Unit band.
GrayHawk is one of the last speakers of Mobilian, having learned the language from his grandmother. His compositions are based on traditional songs referring to the thirteen moons of the Native American calendar. Emmanuel de Gouvello, French bass player and composer, adds his own musical universe to the compositions which he arranged using harmonies and rhythms from jazz. GrayHawk trained as a professional percussionist and musical composer, and has performed in many different bands in the greater New Orleans area. (Aaron Neville, Coco Robicheaux, and Dr. John) He has worked as a Cultural Coordinator for the Jazz and Heritage Festival for 19 years.
13 Moons will take place Friday, February 28, 2014 at 7:00 PM at Flushing Town Hall at 137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing, NY. Tickets are $12/$10 for Members, $8 for Children, and $6 for Member Children.
What makes 13 Moons so unique is that Grayhawk Perkins is one of the last speakers of Mobilian, a trade language. Trade languages (sometimes called pidgin) combine various local languages and are used to communicate across cultures and languages to make trades. Mobilian combines Chickasaw and Choctaw as well as the languages of Native American's colonizers (French, English and Spanish) who were trading in the Gulf of Mexico at the time of first contact. While Mobilian began as a way to make trades among various groups, as more outsiders moved into the area, Native People used the language to distinguish themselves from the outsiders. Today the Houma dialect of Choctaw is considered extinct; there are less than 75 speakers of Chickasaw; and Choctaw is spoken mostly by Native Elders in the community. Grayhawkis both a Mobilian speaker and an historian of the Moskogean language, a family of languages that include Mobilian, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Huoma and more.
The Endangered Language Alliance notes: Languages and cultures have always come into being and disappeared, but today's situation is without parallel: a mass die-off of linguistic diversity on every continent, related to the ongoing "sixth extinction" of biological species. Some languages fall silent due to genocide; others because of language planning, migration education policy, and persecution; and still others for economic or cultural reasons. Hundreds of the world's languages are down to just a few speakers, and a significant percentage of the world's estimated 7,000 languages are set to vanish before the end of the century. Only in the last two decades have communities, linguists, policymakers, and the general public recognized the scale of the problem, and the work is just beginning. As languages die, thousands of years of accumulated human knowledge, experience, creativity and evolution goes with them.