Reprinted from Las Vegas New Times
April 28, 1994
A Voxing Match
Some activists choose to spread their message through arts or music, others delve into politics.
Phillip Kent Bimstein does both. This contemporary classical composer is also the mayor of Springdale, Utah.
Don't worry; Saturday's show at UNLV won't have him grandstanding on issues or preaching from a soapbox.
Instead, Bimstein's Dark Winds Rising will tell the true story of a Paiute Indian tribe in Arizona that rejected a toxic-waste incinerator a company wanted to build next door to the tribe's headquarters.
Dark Winds Rising will feature a blend of two musical forms: the Sierra Wind Quintet and taped voices of tribe members Bimstein interviewed--specifically, three tribe members who offer their reflections on reservation life, their land and their history, as well as remembrance of the incinerator incident of nearly four years ago.
But in the concert, the Paiutes will do more than just talk. Bimstein used a digital sampler to edit their voices (a technique he calls "voice organics") to create other sounds as well: mesa winds, industrial ratchets and various birdcalls.
"I reassembled the words--they're not in order--but they're consistent with the people," he says. "I don't make them say thins they wouldn't have said."
The three Paiute members telling the story represent three generations of the Jake family, one of whom, Vivienne, was a former tribal chairwoman.
Altogether, it adds up to an uplifting celebration of a people affirming their love for their land.