Published on January 14, 2014 by Amy
Canyon Records recording artist, Delphine Tsinajinnie, recently visited Australia where she was featured on Melbourne radio station 3ZZZ. Tsinajinnie was a guest on Women’s World, a weekly program that showcases global artists and their music. 3ZZZ is the largest ethnic community station in Australia and represents all the major ethnic communities of Melbourne. Up to 400 volunteers regularly broadcast programs in 70 different languages.
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Tsinajinnie discussed Navajo music and culture such as the importance of corn grinding songs in the matrilineal Navajo society. She explained that dried corn kernels are ground on a grinding stone to make alkąąd, a corn cake baked in an earth oven, for use in menarcheal and wedding ceremonies. Tsinajinnie sang a rendition of the song sung during the grinding of corn.
Tsinajinnie spoke of her late father Leroy Adison Tsinajinnie and other musical mentors. Mr. Tsinajinnie was a high school teacher who taught Navajo language and culture with an interest in historical music. He began teaching Delphine songs when she was four years old. Tsinajinnie also mentioned the Sandoval family of Lukachukai, Arizona as an important influence and in honor of the Sandovals sang “Sandoval’s Jig” also from her album Mother’s Word.
The former Arizona State University Navajo Language faculty associate added that intercontinental venues, such as 3ZZZ’s Women’s World program, are important in supporting Navajo culture. She expressed her hope that an ongoing multi-media presence of Navajo voice would inspire Navajo youth to learn their unique heritage and pass their cultural knowledge onto their children.
Tsinajinnie studied science at Arizona State University, Central Washington University and with the U.S. Department of Energy, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Her background as a biologist led her to Phillip Island to view penguins, koalas, kangaroos and other wildlife in their natural habitats. She provided the photographs shown here.
Tsinajinnie was raised on the Diné homeland by extended families of the Tó Aheedíinii (Water Flows Together People) and Tl’ízí Lání (Many Goats People). She is descended from traditional Blessingway and Nightway medicinemen. Tsinajinnie has performed on venues around the world.