SONG OF THE ISLANDS
Variation on a Luiseño theme for solo guitar


Luiseño is a Spanish term derived from mission San Luis Rey in southern California, near Los Angeles, with which this ancient culture was associated. They are also known as Payomkawichum, “people of the west”. Today their descendants most often use “Luiseño” to refer to themselves. I have borrowed the seven measures of this Native Californian song published by Cahuilla/Serrano musician Ernest Siva and let my decades of longing for California lead me into this composition. It is from volume II of my Variations on Native Californian Themes for Solo Guitar to be published by Syukhtun Editions. Ernest Siva writes: “This is the Luiseño song that the late Margaret Holly sang for me... Song of the Islands names the four Channel Islands: San Nicolas, Santa Barbara, San Clemente, and Santa Catalina. The birds stopped at each island on their way to the mainland. This is a girl's dance.”
Voices of the Flute: Songs of Three Southern California Indian Nations
Ernest Siva, Ushkana Press, Banning, California, 2004.


Modern Chumash paddling in their
plank canoe (tomol) at Anacapa island.



Song of the Islands
for solo guitar
3 pages


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