We Are Birds : Bird Singing Documentary

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown January 7th, 2015 Last Updated on: January 12th, 2015

Albert Chacon (Cupeno-Cahuilla-Apache) is a photographer and documentarian with over 10 years experience in his craft. He is currently utilizing his skills to take on a documentary project close to his heart. Albert has been traveling from reservation to reservation to document the story of modern bird singing.

In case you're not familiar with bird singing, it is a form of music traditionally sung by the Natives of the southwest. These rhythmic songs are accompanied by handmade gourd rattles. The Cahuilla peoples have a bird singing tradition that honors each day of the year.

While filming this project, Albert had a chance to immerse himself into the culture when a respected elder Bird Singer invited him to participate. Albert picked up a rattle and joined in. He though, what better way to get the story out to the world than by becoming part of it?

“It was a dream of my own to participate in the culture my family left, and it was another to have a chance to record it … a couple of years into learning Bird Singing with the Elders, my much improved Documentarian skills allow me to tell the story properly. This in turn allowed us (the “We Are Birds” team) to show you better video of our experiences as they happen, by sharing.

In this video, Mr. Anthony Andreas III, Tribal Councilman of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in Palm Springs California shares Bird Singing and Cahuilla history.

The most recent video in the series shows us Bird Singing Royalty, Michelle Andreas. She shares her part of Bird Singing history that has been passed down from her father Anthony “Biff” Andreas Jr. (Head Bird Singer / Cultural Preservationist). Michelle shares Songs she has sung along with her father, along with some passed down conversations about Bird.

Do you know any bird singers that would like to be a part of this project? The producers of “We Are Birds” are looking for you! Elders, people of bird singing, bird singing families, their relations, and other types of Bird are encouraged to be a part of this documentary.

Make sure you visit the We Are Birds contact page, fill out the form and send it in. For more great videos please visit Albert Chacon's YouTube channel and also visit the We Are Birds website.

Home » Native American Articles » Native American Culture » We Are Birds : Bird Singing Documentary

About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I am fascinated by the ceremony. I have watched it once and many times on sites like this and shares on youtube or FB. I am always looking at ceremonies where men can be included to assist in teaching traditional roles and protocols. I live in Edmonton Alberta and am from a northern First Nation. Question, how can we bring the Bird Song Ceremony here, in all respect. Thank you, hiy hiy

Albert Chacon We Are Birds

Hello again..

The We Are Birds production crew has taken time out to Help out the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe Domestic Violence Program’s WALK for Women and their families…


Mary Howe is the Director and our Mentor for the We Are Birds Documentary.

cruz. Manuel. romo. noriega

Amigos. De los jefes. Velarde. En danza de los espíritus ellos. Ya volaron. Pero. Somos. Algunos danzantes que los recordamos y cantamos sus cantos en la seremos de purificación. Inipy. Suetlosh,.. Temáticas,… Cabaňa de sudar si me gusta la idea de ser un pájaro cantor ya que los pájaros y yo siempre esos cantado ellos me cantan y yo aprendo cantando con ellos gracias hermosillo sonora México además saque grande 436 entre Arizona. Y calle Simon bley. Celular namber. 6621481954. Okahey… Asta la vista

Albert Chacon

We wanted to thank you Toyacoyah Brown, and all of you at POWWOWS.com for highlighting our We Are Birds Documentary! We have more to come from elders and other women of Bird as well as the men.
We have edited Michelle Andreas Video by her request and have another up to replace the one showing up Blank for Michelle Andreas in your wonderful article. sorry for the inconvenience.

youtube link to new video



Christina Morreo, Cahuilla Elder and Language preservationist shares her family’s stories about Bird Singing

Christina Morreo

Free Email Series: What to Expect at Your First Pow Wow