Though Benito Concha spent the first 16 years of his life in Colorado Springs, his connection and calling to Taos Pueblo overtook him, and at the height of his teen years he decided to return to his ancestral home, which has since been his home base while embarking on worldwide travels.
Concha found himself drawn to his grandparents home at Taos Pueblo and began his family’s migration from Colorado back to their roots. Showing up in Taos from Colorado, things were different. One thing he noticed immediately was a lack of soccer – a sport Concha had grown to love. “One of the first things I did was introduce soccer. That’s how we got to know each other,” he said.
Concha is not necessarily known for his initiation of a soccer team, but rather for the work he went on to do after graduating from Taos High School. With his parents active in the Colorado Native American community, Concha was no stranger to dancing, drumming and other traditions. “I grew up dancing since I was walking,” he laughed.
Two dances he has been doing his entire life are the Red Willow Hoop Dance and the Eagle Dance, which he said both teach important life lessons. “With red willow hoops, they become so fragile … As in life and as in dance, if you manipulate or try to bend it to fit your need, it’ll break.”
Concha said the dancing took him on many journeys around the country. “That’s what the hoops did – and so did the wings – they took me to all these places. I learned a lot and I always brought that back home. I was taught to talk to our leadership about where I’ve been and what I’ve learned.”
But it wasn’t just dance that showed him the world. With the addition of drums, Concha has found another powerful tool to connect and teach people.
Concha has taken the drumming, dancing and spiritual practices he learned in Colorado Springs and Taos Pueblo around the country and the world, sharing his love for the earth and his native land with all who will listen.
From playing a Native American drum set in a widely acclaimed rock band to traveling to Japan to perform with Kodo, the famous drumming performance group, Concha has been on a worldwide journey to share his belief that “each and every one of us are a walking symphony.”
“In all of my travels, I would always somehow come upon … someone that was the local healer or person that came around and, you know, helped the community out,” he said. The knowledge and connection gathered from these experiences has helped him grow spiritually.
As Concha saw how other cultures used music, drumming and dancing to tap into different aspects of community, spirituality and creativity, he realized something. “It was in this time that I started formulating and understanding that we have this exact thing as a whole community at Taos Pueblo.” He had travelled the world to realize everything he was searching for was back at home.
This is when Concha’s interest turned towards bodywork. Back at Taos Pueblo, he began to take interest in the healing work his uncles were doing. “They had solutions from our ancestors, and they always shared that with me,” he said. As he learned little by little from his uncles, he came to the realization in 2012 that there was a lack of bodywork services offered on the Pueblo, and felt called to fill that void.
He travelled back to Colorado, this time in search of a degree in massage therapy. After graduating at the top of his class and spending some time working in Denver, he returned to Taos Pueblo in 2016. This is when Medicine Mountain Massage was born, a name that “became a very special and respectful honoring of bodyworkers and massage healers at the Pueblo.”
At his practice, Concha provides services for all residents of Taos, not just Taos Pueblo – though he does focus on offering free sessions to Pueblo elders, as is tradition. He offers many different kinds of body work, including deep tissue, craniosacral, reiki, “but not specifically any of that. I kind of work around these different modalities.”
Along with bringing spiritual music, teaching and massage to those seeking help, Concha has also spent time working in a more official capacity at Taos Pueblo, where he served in the Tribal Government for four different terms, as well as part of the War Chief’s staff.
Concha said he is appreciative of all those who have helped him achieve his goals, including his late grandparents Joe Cruz and Teresena Concha and Benito and Manuelita Marcus, and his parents Mike Concha and the late Celestina Concha.
Looking to the future, Concha said he hopes to find someone to mentor, but admitted it isn’t easy. “It’s a calling – or more than a calling; something that’s already been in you and you just need to push forward …” He also acknowledged it wasn’t always an easy job: “pretty much, a lot of this work that is good for the land and the people is thankless.”