My Relatives, many of you recognize this song as the great chant to Atabey our sacred mother of the earth and the waters which we in the Taino Resurgence movement have been singing since 1981 when I composed it under inspiration of our Taino ancestors. This particular video shows me leading the singing of the song as part of a historic 1992 full moon ceremony of the CANEY INDIGENOUS SPIRITUAL CIRCLE in Pittsburgh, PA which was attended by the leaders of one of the very first yukayekes of the TAINO RESURGENCE MOVEMENT, the Taino Native American Association.
As I mentioned above, this song was composed under inspiration in 1981 by myself (at which time, according to the copyright laws of the United States, it began to be protected by the copyright laws of the United States). We have enthusiastically promoted the singing of that song among our Taino communities as part of the mission of our Caney Circle to share the ceremonial tradition of our ancestors to all of our people. We encourage other Tainos to sing it and use it in their ceremonies all over the world, wherever they may find themselves. We have selflessly spread the public use of our song to both Tainos and non-Tainos who respect our ways.
Of course we expect that if somebody uses our song in a context in which they will make money from it use, in keeping with copyright norms that person ask our permission before they do it or at least give us credit for it.
For decades we had no idea that anybody was interested in our song except Tainos and we believed that this song was being sung only by people we knew or by people that knew others who we knew. We were very very wrong! In 1991 a fellow behike of the Caney Circle, a woman named Guaba Guarikoku (Spider) recorded the song and released it with our permission as part of a companion audiotape which was designed to accompany her recently published book "SONGS OF BLEEDING". The audiotape contained several songs of the Caney Circle which included this chant to Atabey as well as some songs from other traditions that were pertinent to the theme of the book which was Indigenous women's spirituality from various Native tribes. Spider clearly credited me as the author of the song and also clearly marked the tape with the well-known (c) copyright symbol of the lower case "c" surrounded by a circle and accompanied by the date 1992. Spider's tape was marketed under the name of the book "SONGS OF BLEEDING" and was sold internationally along with the book.
In 1992 a German children's music promoter, Pit Bude heard Spider's tape while visiting Canada and he liked our Atabey song. Pit Bude understood that the song was dedicated to Mother Earth even though much of the lyrics are in the Taino language so he composed a set of German lyrics "Fur Die Erde Singen Wir" (We sing to the Earth Mother) and then released the song in his country in both German and also in the original Taino lyrics that I had created in 1981. He called his version of the song "TAINO TEE", using the first two words of the song. He did not ask our permission to copy our song and release it publicly, and we had no idea that he had done that. The song was a hit! It was sung by thousands of German children and even children of other European countries for years. He sold a lot of tapes and cd's with our song throughout the decade of the 1990's and even into the twenty first century and we had no idea any of this was happening!
This is a screen shot of the online publicity for the cd album Fligende Feder (Flying Feather) Pit Bude's children's music band Karibuni-Weltmusic Fur Kinder, which included our song under the name "Taino Tee" as seen in the circled image above.
This is Pit Bude with his associates performing our song publicly as part of the Childrens Musical assemble KARIBUNI WELTMUSIK FUR KINDER
Fast forward to 2013... while I was surfing the internet one day I discovered a video in Youtube uploaded by another German man, Klaus Stezenbach, also interested in children's music. He had posted a compilation of three Native American songs which included our chant to Atabey. The video is extremely professional in nature and the song is beautifully interpreted by a Scottish singer. I was extremely surprised and began to reach out to Mr. Stezenbach in a very respectful manner, trying to inquire as to the history of his posting and informing him that this was our song, I did that for three years. I never got a response from him.
Eventually I realized that Stezenbach had given credit for the song to Pit Bude. I reached out to Pit Bude and he was extremely gracious in his response, offering to change all public and online exhibitions of the song to give me and the Caney Circle credit for it.
Later on I realized that the Pit Bude version of the song had been so successful in Germany that there were many videos on youtube presenting different interpretations of our song, some of them showing crowds of children singing it in both German and in Taino, and even dancing to it dressed up like "Indians". None of these people posting our song on Yutube ever gave us any credit for it. Some of them only credited Pit Bude and several of them were earning money in the use of the song.
Generally I have not perceived any of these uses of the Caney Circle Atabey song as offensive because of the fact that these are innocent children who are essentially enjoying the sacredness of the song. I frankly see no harm done by these various videos.
This takes us to Carlos Arias Segura. Mr Arias Segura promotes himself as a shaman and a spiritual personality who is following the tradition of his Peruvian Inca ancestors. He includes the word 'Wiracocha" in his official name. Wiracocha is the name of a very important Inca divinity.
I promptly reached out to him and sent him an extremely respectful e-mail informing him that I was the author of the copyrighted song that he had used in his presentation and inviting him to a collaboration with our Caney Circle since he appeared to be following a spiritual path that was similar to ours. Let me be very clear...I never EVER mentioned any money to Mr Arias Segura and I never intended for him to pay me in any way. I was simply extending a hand of friendship to someone I thought would react the same way that Pit Bude had reacted. His response was incredibly hostile and insulting. Immediately he began accusing me of trying to get money from him and challenged my claim to ownership of the song. I attempted to clarify the situation to him, respectfully explaining that I had no interest in his money. He would not desist and in a series of e-mails simply became more and more hostile and insulting. Finally I gave up trying to convince him that I was not his enemy and that all I wanted was to be a friend since I was flattered by the fact that he liked our song. I asked him to take down the video on Youtube. characteristically, he told me to leave him alone and exhibited clearly by his actions that he had no intention to take down the video. He again told me to prove that our song was copyrighted and that I owned the copyright.
This series of text files is a record chronicling the e-mail interactions between Mr. Arias Segura and myself:
1.) First email that i sent him
2.) His response to my first email
3.) My answer to his first response
4.) His second response
5.) My answer to his second response
6.) His third response
7.) My last message to him
After this last interaction I checked Mr. Arias Segura's facebook page and noticed that he had actually brought up the subject of his interactions with me to his many followers even though I had never commented on his page. He cast me as some sort of a villain who was selfishly attempting to control music in general instead of simply attempting to establish my rights to my song. So he was getting a lot of sympathy from his minions until I came in and posted a very respectful comment explaining that all I had wanted was to collaborate and that I did no want any money from him. His reaction was to delete my comments and block me. Then he sent me a facebook message telling me to leave him alone. I did leave him alone for approximately 12 months.
Here is his facebook message:
Although we have indeed owned the copyright all along under United States law simply by virtue of the fact that Spider dutifully marked it and dated it as such on her audiotape we never actually registered the song with the United States copyright office. So I took that step last year, and this month we received the official certification from the copyright office giving us the right of copyright going all the way back to the date when the song was authored in 1981 and recognizing our date of first publication 1992 before the release of the cd by Karibuni Weltmusic Fur Kinder with Pit Bude's version or our song. Both of those dates are relevant to our copyright.
I immediately contacted youtube and filed a copyright infringement complaint against both Mr Arias Segura and Klaus Stezenbach. It did not take long for Youtube to take down both videos. I have not moved against all of the other videos on Youtube that present our song because either I have reached out to the people who posted the videos and have received a positive response from them or because I do not feel that the videos offend the dignity of the song. Most of them are innocent children who are simply enjoying the song.
I contacted Mr Arias Segura and informed him that his video had been taken down by Youtube upon my copyright complaint. His response has been characteristically abrupt. He responded with a message that threatened physical violence if he ever travels to the United States and runs into me ..."I am going to rearrange your face" he claimed.
This file shows that comment from him:
Furthermore he even logged on to my facebook timeline using a false alias name "Eduardo Dominguez" and posted a very insulting comment using very hostile language. I deleted the comment but I kept a screen shot copy.
Nobody in this particular thread in my facebook timeline actually paid any attention to Mr Arias Segura's hostile comment under the fake alias of Eduardo Dominguez but I did receive a personal message from a friend alerting me to the trolling action and that is how I got to delete the comment.
Mr. Arias Segura is a disrespectful, bitter individual and I am warning all of my friends about him and especially because of the fact that he uses fake aliases.