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Waila Celebration heads to Sahuarita casino Saturday

Waila Celebration heads to Sahuarita casino Saturday

  • Gertie and the T.O. Boyz will be one of the bands at the Waila Celebration.
    Daniel BuckleyGertie and the T.O. Boyz will be one of the bands at the Waila Celebration.

The social dance music developed by Southern Arizona's Tohono O'odham people will be featured at this year's Waila Celebration, set for Saturday.

The mix of polka and waltzes infused with Mexican influences is played by bands with accordions, guitars, drums and often an alto saxophone.

The event at Desert Diamond Casino will feature arts and crafts vendors and food for sale, as well as performances by the T.O. Youth Group, the Lopez Band, Mumsigo, the Cruz Band, the T.O. Braves and Gertie and the T.O. Boyz. The Kwaliyadam Dance Group will also perform.

"We're very proud to celebrate the rich history of waila music with the Southern Arizona community. Come join us May 20 to experience this unique O'odham music from some of the top waila bands," said Treena Parvello, director of government and public relations for the Tohono O'odham Gaming Enterprise, in a press release.

Th waila concert will be the first one featuring the Native musical form hosted at the casino since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The event will be on Saturday, May 20, at Desert Diamond Casino in Sahuarita. It will begin at 4 p.m. and it will end at 11 p.m.

Bianca Morales is’s Cultural Expression and Community Values reporter, and a Report for America corps member supported by readers like you.

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