Songs From the Stone Hoop

Artist

Miguel Sagué Jr.

Date

2021

Commissioning Organization

Office of Public Art

About the Project

Supported by the Artists Bridging Social Distance in the Public Realm initiative, Songs From the Stone Hoop is a CD of original ceremonial music composed by artist, musician, and spiritual leader Miguel Sagué Jr. of the Taíno tribe. These musical compositions serve as the foundation for sacred Indigenous ceremonies of the Caney Indigenous Spiritual Circle, a community founded by Sagué to support people Indigenous to the Caribbean in reclaiming their Indigenous spirituality.

Sagué’s original compositions have been used in sacred Indigenous ceremonies worldwide for over 40 years. His seminal scores are recorded and documented for the first time in Songs From the Stone Hoop, preserving the oral traditions, history, and culture of the Taíno tribe into the future.

Songs From the Stone Hoop features Sagué singing his original compositions with Carlos Peña (guitar), Tony DePaolis (bass), his son Miguel Sagué III (conga, voice), and a choir directed by Kris Rust with fellow Taíno leaders and members of the community on vocals: Lenia Sagué, Dayvanna Caraballo, and Jeffry Mucaro Blake Johnson. Phat Man Dee provides background vocals and co-produced the work with Sagué at Mr. Smalls Recording Studio in Pittsburgh’s North Side community.

Online Single Release, October 29, 2021

On October 29 at 7:00PM ET, Sagué will livestream the online release of “Vasija de Barro,” his second single from Songs From the Stone Hoop. The event features a performance of the single as well as a conversation with the artist and his collaborators about the importance of this song in the musical and spiritual Indigenous community.

The event celebrates the sacred Day of the Dead holiday, a time around the first of November, when members of the Caney Indigenous Spiritual Circle gather together to honor their dear ones who have crossed over. “Vasija de Barro” is a haunting and powerful arrangement that describes the Indigenous practice of burying loved ones in big clay urns for their final resting place.

To join the online release event, please visit the Online Resources section below.

CD Release Event, November 28, 2021

Songs From the Stone Hoop will be released on November 28, 2021, during National Native American Heritage Month, at a debut party at Mr. Smalls Theatre in Millvale, PA. More information and a link to purchase tickets will be posted here when available.

To support the project through CD pre-sales, purchase artwork from the artist, download a single, and learn more about the Caney Indigenous Spiritual Circle, please visit the Online Resources below.

Online Resources

Join the Online Event

Tune in to the online single release on October 29, 2021.

Support the Project

Pre-order the CD of Songs From the Stone Hoop.

Download the first single from the album, “Atabey (Taíno Ti).”

Websites

Learn more about the Artist and his work.

Learn more about Taíno culture and heritage.

Learn more about the Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center.

Videos

Watch the Artist’s videos on his YouTube Channel.

About the Artist

Miguel Sagué Jr. is an artist, musician, and spiritual guide for the Caney Indigenous Spiritual Circle. He was born in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, in a region associated with the historic Indigenous town of El Caney, one of the most important centers of Indigenous tradition in the country. He grew up immersed in the culture, art and music for which his native region is famous. When he was 15, Miguel immigrated to the United States with his family, first living in Erie, PA and later moving to Pittsburgh. There, he built his life as a schoolteacher, father, and working musician.

In 1981, Miguel founded the Caney Indigenous Spiritual Circle, a community to support people Indigenous to the Caribbean in reclaiming their Indigenous spirituality. He serves as a behike, or spiritual leader, and is responsible for composing the sacred music used in ceremonial traditions worldwide. In 1988, Miguel founded Sagué Presents Entertainment Agency, featuring his flagship ensemble, Guaracha Latin Dance Band.

Miguel sits on the board of directors of the Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center and is active in the arts and Indigenous culture scene both in the Pittsburgh region and globally.

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Video

Listen to Miguel Sagué Jr. describe the Family Day of the Ancestors Ceremony as celebrated within his own home. 

“Since 1981, the Caney Indigenous Spiritual Circle has provided both people who identify as descendants of the ancient original Taíno inhabitants of the Caribbean and our allies, with a sacred space in which we can interact with the souls of our ancestors and the powerful spiritual entities that manifest themselves in the natural forces of the cosmos. As one of the founders of the Caney Circle, I was inspired to create a spectrum of sacred songs that would enhance our spiritual and ritual experience. We have been singing these songs for the past 40 years. It is now such an honor to be able to share these songs with the world at large in the form of this new music album that we have, called Songs From the Stone Hoop. These songs carry the power and energy of our ancestral wisdom and introduce the listener to the beauty of our culture.”

Miguel Sagué Jr.

Image credits

Gallery, top:
(1) Artist headshot by Renee Rosensteel, courtesy artist; (2) Album artwork courtesy artist; (3) Artist headshot, courtesy artist; (4) Single artwork by William Rodriguez using visual artwork by artist, courtesy artist

Artist headshot:
Photo by Renee Rosensteel, courtesy artist

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PROJECTS

Black Rest ThoughtPathways

An online video series dedicated to Black and Indigenous rest practices by Black Dream Escape was uploaded to YouTube every Wednesday over the course of June 2020.

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What Is Black? Mixcast

This podcast, zine, and multimedia mixtape explore what it means to be a Black creative through a series of conversations with featured guests, artists, and creatives.