Waila musicians to celebrate S. Az native sounds at Why casino Saturday

The music and dancing of Southern Arizona’s unique waila style will be featured at a Saturday celebration at Why location of Desert Diamond Casino on Saturday.

Waila is a Tohono O’odham social dance style and musical genre derived from Spanish and German music and folk sounds. Its sound is similar to the polka and mazurka. 

Waila bands nowadays incorporate instruments such as the alto saxophone, the accordion, the bass guitar, drums and the electric guitar. The genre is also known as “chicken scratch.” It is one of the many sounds of the Sonoran Desert.

The free event will include food and local arts and crafts vendors as well as musical performances.

“This is the first waila celebration to be hosted at the Why location near Ajo,” according to a Desert Diamond press release. There was a waila event at the Sahuarita location earlier this year.

The five bands that will be featured at the event will be O’odham Warriors, T.O. Natives, American Indians, Carl N Buddies – Kwaliya, and Gertie N the T.O. Boyz.

“We’re very proud to celebrate the rich history of waila music with the community at our Why casino,” said Treena Parvello, a PR representative for the Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise.