SACRED SITES IN THE ARGONAUT

SACRED SITES IN THE ARGONAUT

JULY 1, 2021 THE ARGONAUT PAGE 17
A R T S & E V E N T S
SoCal’s Secret History
Santa Monica author releases new audiobook
By Haley Beyer
Susan Suntree’s best-selling,
award-winning book, “Sacred
Sites: The Secret History of
Southern California”, was first
published in 2010 and describes
the origins of the
universe, the evolution of
plants and animals, migration
of humans and much more.
In 2021, Suntree released a
new audiobook version of her
book, which is available on 41
sites including Amazon,
Google and Audible. The
inspiration for the audiobook
stemmed from her curiosity of
how things came to be.
“I asked myself how did
things come to be the way they
are?” Suntree said. “I wanted
to see through the palm trees
and concrete.”
Suntree wanted people to feel
SoCal expert Susan Suntree’s new audiobook “Sacred Sites: The Secret History of
Southern California” features little-known information about the geological formation
of the landscape, Native American sacred villages, and the coming of the Europeans.
like they were part of the world
they lived in. She felt misplaced
in Los Angeles because
there was no information
available about the landscape
or indigenous people. She used
her experience as a performance
artist, teacher and 18th
Street Art Center resident artist
to start her research and
worked with tribal leaders,
artists, historians and scientists
at major universities and
museums.
What Suntree discovered
changed the way she viewed her
home and she wanted to share
that with everyone around her.
“Southern California is a
dynamic place,” Suntree said.
“There is continual transformational
landscape. It is a force of
life on this astounding planet. It
is all intelligence. All alive.”
In the audiobook, Suntree
covers the history of the Native
American people who lived in
Southern California for more
than 15,000 years. She also
shares information about the
Tongva and other indigenous
tribes with their villages
Cahuenga, Tujunga, Topanga
and other familiar locations.
One fact that most people do
not know is that the oldest
human skeleton in North
America was found in LA.
After exploring the Santa
Monica Mountains, 16-millionyear-
old seashells that were
once coastal seabeds were
found as well. Earthquakes are
responsible for pushing the
mountains higher, and after the
Ice Age ended, the bay that
once filled the LA basin
retreated and the region basked
in the current Mediterranean
climate that LA is known for
today.
Suntree’s journey began as a
one-woman show, which was
then made into her best-selling
book. Making it into an
audiobook “restored it to its
native being.”
“My worlds didn’t collide, the
two worlds became braided
together,” Suntree said.
To prepare for recording,
Suntree went through voice
exercises and lessons. Once the
work began, she worked every
single day until it was completed.
The work was tedious
because the layering of the
music, voices of the characters,
and creating a clear concept of
the timeline was essential
to creating the perfect
interpretation.
The music helped move the
story along and Suntree enjoyed
working with composer Tom
Zehnder and featured Ernest
Siva. She also worked with
actor Kalani Queypo and Peter
Coyote, an Emmy Award-winning
narrator of documentaries.
“It was so important for me to
work with these two people,”
Suntree said. “It felt right to
have the male voice of Queypo,
an indigenous person, tell the
story alongside someone as
brilliant and experienced as
Coyote. “
To purchase the audio book,
visit shop.authors-direct.com/
collections/suntree-sacred-sitesaudiobook
The audiobook is narrated by Suntree and actor Kalani
Queypo, and features Peter Coyote, the voice of Ken
Burns’ documentaries.
CREDIT: TONY VEREBES
CREDITS: AUDIOBOOK COVER IMAGE: JUERGEN NOGAI; COVER DESIGN: TIM GIBBS-ZEHNDER

This post was written by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *