A Taste of Contemporary American Indian Music

Sounds of Indian Summer: Contemporary Native Music from  the National Museum of the American Indian
Sounds of Indian Summer: Contemporary Native Music from the National Museum of the American Indian
The live recording Sounds of Indian Summer: Contemporary Native Music from the National Museum of the American Indian was released last year an it provides a fascinating picture of the music performed by the various American Indian, South American and First Nations musicians. The Indian Summer Showcase at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian features some of the most popular Native musicians in a series of outdoor concerts held each summer only steps from the U.S. Capitol.

In honor of the Indian Summer Showcase’s third season, the museum released its first CD compilation of live music from renowned Native artists. The new recording, "Sounds of Indian Summer: Contemporary Native Music from the National Museum of the American Indian,’ features award-winning musicians Joanne Shenandoah (Oneida) and George Leach (Sta’atl’imx), as well as new rock ‘n’ roll sensations The Reddmen from South Dakota, DiggingRoots from Canada and The Plateros from New Mexico, among many others.

"The music here will not only make you want to dance, it will inspire you to re-think the very definition of Native music," said museum director Kevin Gover (Pawnee/Comanche). "The album brings together the traditional and contemporary in a way that will demonstrate to listeners the astonishing creative ability of so many of today’s Native artists."

The album offers an array of indigenous musical traditions and vocal techniques, spanning from the Canadian arctic (Yup’ik "throat singing") to the highlands of Peru (the percussive quena," "sicus" and "charango"). Blending electric guitars, drum sets, synthesizers and other modern items with traditional instruments, these artists are contemporary storytellers, infusing their music with themes of identity and cultural survival as well as experiences of racism and expressions of ethnic pride.

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