Chicken scratch music inspires Quechan filmmaker
"Waila" (WHY-lah) is another name for chicken scratch music.
Golding specializes in making documentaries about tribal culture. He felt it was his duty to preserve the story of this unique type of music found only in the American Southwest. "I really wanted to tell people about this great musical style and expose part of Native America that most people just aren't exposed to," he said. "It's so different from what people perceive to be native music. It's contemporary native music and it has its own place within the community."
indigenous music with
influences ranging from
polka music to
Mexico styles such as norteno. The music is
performed without lyrics on
accordions, saxophones and
Golding graduated with honors from the film school at San Francisco State University. Many of his films have been showed at film festivals throughout the U.S., Canada and Australia. "Waila: Making the People Happy," played at the Sundance Film Festival and won honors at the American Indian Film Festival and the Marin County Film Festival.
"Waila: Making the People Happy" focuses on the Joaquin Brothers, one of the chicken scratch bands.
"The movie tells the history and development of the music through three generations of one family," Golding said. "The Joaquin Brothers are sort of like the legends. They are the older ones who got everything going. They were even invited in 1994 to play at Carnegie Hall."
Most chicken scratch music is passed down orally. "Ninety percent of the people that play don't know how to read music. They just hear it and learn it by ear," Golding said. "Everyone knows the songs and everyone calls them by their own names, but it's the same music.".
"Today, even the young people are really into waila. You can see tough, rugged gang-banger Indians out there dancing waila."