Duro, 49, says he was taught to sing the bird songs by “the last spiritual advisor of Torres Martinez.” His elder has since passed away and his tradition instructs him not to say his name to outsiders without permission from his immediate family. But he said, “One of the things he taught us was not to glorify what we’re doing. It’s for our people.
“I got a lot of backlash from this from people on my rez,” Duro said. “But I see things sometimes from a different angle. Coachella is known everywhere (as) a big party. You listen to music and have a good time, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I don’t like combining the two. That goes against what I was taught.”
Duro has nothing against pop culture.
“I like to party too,” he said. “I like to go to concerts. I’m a Metallica fan. I’m a Slipknot fan. I love getting in the pit. But I do not combine the two.
“I don’t want to go against what I was taught by my elder. Before he taught us, he sat us down — that’s what they did in the old times. They sat down and talked with you and told you, ‘If you’re going to do this, you have to do it a certain way. There’s no smoking, no drinking, no drugging. You have to live the lifestyle. I’ve taken that on. So has my brother and my sons and my cousins that are in our group. That’s what we do.”
Duro appreciates that Tollett has invited the Torres Martinez to represent Coachella Valley culture in an event in which artists from Asia, Africa, Europe, South America and North America will represent their cultural advances. He realizes bringing disparate cultures together and sharing human experiences can be a unifying spiritual experience.