Remembering the Songs

Program Description

“Remembering The Songs” is a music and lecture performance based around the same-titled documentary film and musical album. The project provides a unique look at the musical traditions from Zuni, Navajo and Salish communities and the importance of songs to these people. This program includes the screening of a 30-minute documentary in addition to Gary's storytelling and music. "Remembering the Songs" is most appropriate for small concerts, museums, and libraries. The program comes with an extensive study guide, making it a powerful teaching tool for college and university level history or humanities courses.

A master of the Native American Flute, Gary Stroutos brings music traditions from the Zuni, Navajo, and Salish peoples alive through performance and the showing of the film, Remembering the Songs. In 2011 Gary Stroutsos worked with Julie Cajune at the HeartLines Center for American Indian Policy and Applied Research - Salish Kootenai College with the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to produce Remembering the Songs, a CD and DVD collection of traditional Native American music. This project sprang, in part, from Stroutsos’s own path after he gave up a career as an Afro-Cuban jazz band leader in 1995 to pursue the simple and incredibly pure sound of the Native American flute. That path led him from the banks of the Missouri River to the red rocks of the Southwest. Along the way elders asked him to preserve their songs through the flute and implored him to play them often, lest their songs be forgotten. Remembering the Songs reflects time spent with friend and mentor Paul Thompson, Navajo flute maker – Fernando Cecillion, Zuni song keeper – and Lucy Vandenburg, daughter of Jerome Vandenburg one of the last Salish men who made and played traditional flutes. 


"Remembering the Songs is a humble tribute to honor the tradition of song and story. The stories of three individuals give a glimpse of song keepers and music makers from the Dine, Zuni and Salish communities. Through film and music we invite you to experience a brief moment of the power and meaning of song."
- Producer Julie Cajune, Salish Montana Educator

“Gary Stroutsos captivates the audience with his majestic flute-playing and storytelling. His performance is versatile and he caters to his audience and is great with both children and adults.” 
- Miranda Castillo, Bowers Museum Program Director, Santa Ana, CA

"The beauty of the instruments in sound & sight
Hauntingly, spiritual sounds a native flute & great flute player can make
It is an experience that will be with me forever
The flutes & the teacher - his instruments are museum quality & talent is awe inspiring"

 - Laurie Haakons, Puyallup School District, Music Teacher