Singer of Aztec songs comes to Tucumcari

William Thompson

Michael Heralda, a Los Angeles based singer, musician and storyteller, will be bringing a unique brand of Aztec-inspired music to the Tucumcari High School auditorium tomorrow afternoon. Heralda’s 3 p.m. performance, sponsored by the Quay Council for the Arts and Humanities, will feature audience participation.
“The Aztec songs are indigenous songs and each song reveals indigenous knowledge,” said Heralda. “I often invite audience members to come up on stage and play some of my traditional Aztec instruments. I will even teach some words in the Nahuatl language and the audience can sing along.”

Heralda said most of his songs are in English, but Nauhuatl words are interspersed throughout. “Nauhuatl is a language that originated in the American southwest and in Mexico. The Hopi and Navajo languages are dialects of the Nahuatl language,” said Heralda. “In my performance I will have “huehuetl” drums. “The huehuetl drum is a large Aztec drum made from a tree trunk.”

Heralda will also have a variety of authentic guord drums and clay flutes at the performance. He said his fascination with Aztec culture began at a yard sale about ten years ago.
“I found a fiction book about the Aztecs,” said Heralda. “The imagery was so vivid it made me want to research non-fiction books and writings about the Aztecs. After much research I began performing the music and eventually recording the music.”

Heralda has appeared on National Public Radio and on Los Angeles radio stations. He has performed all over the country including such prestigious venues as Yale’s Peabody Museum and the Ford Amphitheater in Los Angeles. “I think one of my biggest performances was at a high school auditorium,” said Heralda. “We had about 800 people clapping and singing along.”
Judy Hiner, of the Quay Council for Arts and Humanities, said admission for Heralda’s performance will be $5 at the door and should last a little over an hour. The council’s season tickets are good for this performance.