Kevin Yazzie is a Diné (Navajo) musician born in Teesto, Arizona. Kevin now resides in Mesa, Arizona with his wife, Alberta, and children Shailen, Natashbah, and Jamon Noah. Kevin started singing at the age of six at Pow Wows and the Native American Church. At the age of thirteen Kevin grew closer to the Native American Church and it’s songs of prayer and started composing songs soon after.
The Peyote medicine and prayer songs have provided him with comfort throughout his life. Many of his songs come from his inspirations, his friends, family and those who are in need of comfort, healing and spiritual uplifting. In 2009, Kevin’s solo harmonized Peyote recording Faith (Canyon Records) was a finalist for the 2009 Grammy in the Native American Music category.
Kevin Yazzie’s albums include the Peyote song recordings First Light (Canyon Records) and Awakening of Life (Canyon Records) he made with Navajo (Diné) musician Cheevers Toppah and the solo album Faith (Canyon Records), where Yazzie uses lush multi-part vocal harmonies, soothing melodies, accompanied by gourd and water drum, to perform songs of healing and prayer in an inspirational expression of faith in the Native American Church.
Jay Begaye is a Dine (Navajo) singer, songwriter, painter, sculptor and a former rodeo contestant. He was born and raised on the Navajo Reservation in the small town of Steamboat Canyon, Arizona.
Jay attended his first pow-wow in Salt Lake City, Utah and that is where he heard the Snake River Singers. This experience left him with an irresistible urge to compose and sing his own songs.
From 1982 to 1986, Jay began singing with a noted drum group, the White Eagle Singers and later moved to Canada in 1987. There he formed his own group, the Cathedral Lake Singers. He lived in Keremeos on the Chopaka reserve in British Columbia, Canada for the next 16 years. Today Jay makes his home in Ganado, Arizona with his wife Loretta and young son, Sonsiila.
Several of his recordings have earned both critical and popular acclaim. His recording Round Dance In Beauty was a 2001 AFIM India Awards finalist and it earned him Best Male Artist and Best Traditional Recording nominations at the 2001 Native American Music Awards. His album, Song of Colors also earned a nomination at the 2004 Indian Summer Music Awards.
When not touring and making public appearances, Jay donates a great deal of his time to helping today’s youth on the Navajo Reservation.
Radmilla Cody – K’é Hasin (Canyon Records CR-6542, 2016)
Diné (Navajo) singer, songwriter and community activist Radmilla Cody presents a collection of mostly a cappella songs dedicated to an important Diné teaching known as K’é Hasin.
K’é means kinship and it is the basis for Navajo identity and existence as a people. K’é goes beyond immediate family and encompasses relationships stretching across Navajo society.
K’é Hasin translates as Enduring Kinship and Hope. It includes new songs by Herman Cody and Radmilla Cody. The songs allude to the Circle of Life; the new born; kinship honor; the four essential elements: fire, water, air and Holy Earth; mother’s love; leadership values; disposing of trash; happy morning songs; Diné Way of life teachings; clan songs; compassion and good thoughts; mother’s advice; and also a humorous song about a PT Cruiser (car).
The CD booklet contains Navajo and English-language lyrics.
“As I turn my ear to the music I can only imagine my great-grandfathers, but their old songs are still here and the new are part of me.”
Bryan Akipa, a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota (Sioux) Nation, is a self-taught flute maker, flute player and traditional woodcarver. As a young man he attended the Institute of American Indian Arts and studied fine arts with Oscar Howe at the University of South Dakota at Vermillion. After graduation Bryan became an elementary school teacher for seven years. Since 1991 he has committed himself to his chosen art and craft, the cedar flute.
In addition to being a premier Native American flute player, Bryan is internationally known for his craftsmanship of traditional flutes. While he says that his knowledge of the flute is primarily self-taught, he also acknowledges “the elders, relatives and friends” that took the time to teach him about the flute. He is also a champion traditional dancer that tours with the Lakota Sioux Dance Theatre. His performances and artwork informs others about his history and heritage.
When one hears the depth and the age in the sound of his instruments, the importance of this tradition becomes quite apparent. Bryan feels the experience of making his own flutes and learning the old songs has been nothing but a “good blessing.” His music, however, is made up of the old and the new, and he takes great pride in skillfully blending the traditional and contemporary.
According to Akipa, “The flute can be very relaxing and soothing. In old times it was the music for lovers. The essence of wind, the melody of a red cedar flute, where it comes from and where it goes is a mystery. So is everyone born of the spirit of love.”
R. Carlos Nakai, of Navajo-Ute heritage, is the leading Native American flutist, having sold more than 3.5 million albums. He has received two gold records for Canyon Trilogy and Earth Spirit, the first American Indian recordings to earn this achievement. He has also garnered six Grammy nominations and numerous Native American Music Awards.
Originally a performer of the classical trumpet, Nakai was given a Native American flute and challenged to see what he could do with it. Mixing the traditions of his Native American heritage with an iconoclastic outlook, Nakai was on the cutting edge of the renaissance of indigenous American culture. Following his first release in 1983, Changes, he would go on to release more than thirty albums with Canyon Records plus additional albums and guest appearances on other labels.
In 2004, the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet released its fourth adventure in global native groove, People of Peace, featuring R. Carlos Nakai, vocalist Mary Redhouse, multi-instrumentalist AmoChip Dabney, and percussionist Will Clipman.
Mutual fans of one another’s musical careers, Keola Beamer and Nakai met when Nakai was organizing a workshop at Kalani Honua in Hawaii. Nakai wanted to include Hawaiian culture in the workshop and Beamer offered his services. Nakai approached Beamer to see if he would be interested in doing a musical collaboration mixing disparate cultures. The result is Our Beloved Land (2005).
Our Beloved Land features the sound of the Native American flute accompanied by the harmonies of the slack key guitar. Several songs also feature Beamer’s soulful vocal renditions of original and traditional Hawaiian songs.
Changes (Canyon Records, 1983)
Cycles (Canyon Records, 1985)
Journeys (Canyon Records, 1986)
Jackalope (Canyon Records, 1986) Earth Spirit (Canyon Records, 1987) Sundance Season (Celestial Harmonies, 1988)
Carry the Gift (Canyon Records, 1988) Desert Dance (Celestial Harmonies, 1988) Canyon Trilogy (Canyon Records, 1989) Winter Dreams (Canyon Records, 1990)
Natives (Silver Wave Records, 1990)
Spirit Horses (Canyon Records, 1991) Emergence: Songs of the Rainbow World (Canyon Records, 1992)
Ancestral Voices (Canyon Records, 1992)
Weavings (Canyon Records, 1992)
Migration (Silver Wave Records, 1992)
Boat People (A Musical Codex) (Canyon Records, 1993)
Dances With Rabbits (Canyon Records, 1993)
How the West Was Lost (Silver Wave Records, 1993s)
Honorable Sky (Silver Wave Records, 1994)
Native Tapestry (Canyon Records, 1994)
Island of Bows (Canyon Records, 1994)
Feather, Stone & Light (Canyon Records, 1995) Awakening the Fire (Canyon Records, 1995)
How the West Was Lost Volume Two (Silver Wave Records, 1995) Kokopelli’s Cafe (Canyon Records, 1996)
Improvisations in Concert (Silver Wave Records, 1996)
Two World Concerto (Canyon Records, 1997)
Inside Canyon de Chelly (Canyon Records, 1997)
Mythic Dreamer (Canyon Records, 1998)
Red Wind (Canyon Records, 1998)
Winds of Devotion (EarthSea Records, 1998)
Inside Monument Valley (Canyon Records, 1999) Inner Voices (Canyon Records, 1999)
Big Medicine (Canyon Records, 1999)
Ancient Future (Canyon Records, 2000) t
In a Distant Place (Canyon Records, 2000)
Edge of the Century (Canyon Records, 2001)
ETribal (Canyon Records, 2001)
Through Windows & Walls (EarthSea Records, 2001)
Fourth World (Canyon Records, 2002) Sanctuary (Canyon Records, 2003)
In Beauty, We Return (Canyon Records, 2004)
People of Peace (Canyon Records, 2005)
Our Beloved Land (Canyon Records, 2005)
Reconnections (Canyon Records, 2006)
Talisman (Canyon Records, 2008)
Guadalupe, Our Lady of the Roses (Canyon Records, 2008)
Dancing into Silence (Canyon Records, 2010) Ritual (Mysterium Music, 2014)
Acclaimed Navajo-Ute flutist R. Carlos Nakai has numerous projects that range from traditional American Indian flute music to contemporary sounds rooted in Native traditions. The R. Carlos Nakai Quartet is an avenue to fuse Native American melodies with jazz and global beats.
The highlights of the album are the flute performances backed by the creative rhythm patterns and keyboards.
The lineup includes R. Carlos Nakai on Native American flute; AmoChip Dabney on saxophone, keyboards, guitar; Will Clipman on drums and ethnic percussion; and Johnny Walker on bass.
What Lies Beyond is a beautifully-crafted album that showcases the talent of a musician who is taking American Indian/Native American music to exciting new territories.
The 16th Annual Native American Music Awards were announced on Saturday September 17th, 2016. A special appearance was made by the family of nominee Joseph Flying Bye, whose recording, Putting The Moccasins Back On, was posthumously nominated in two categories. His son, Allen Flying Bye and ten other family members, drove all the way from Standing Rock, North Dakota to the show. In a display of unity and solidarity, they received an overwhelming response from the attendees supporting their opposition of the Dakota Access pipeline. Recently, nominees of the Native American Music Awards contributed their songs to a free CD titled, Water Is Life to support the Standing Rock Sioux Community.
Traditional performances were held by the Awards’ youngest nominee and rising star, 12 year-old hand drummer, Nizhoo Sullivan, as well as Theresa Bear Fox and the Akwesasne Women Singers, and Joseph Fire Crow who also picked up the rhythm with a contemporary song performed with the Ed Koban house band.
Shelley Morningsong took the coveted Artist of the Year award, and ruled the stage with a notable performance of singing and playing flute as her husband and musical partner, Fabian Fontenelle performed in his stunning ceremonial outfit.
American Indian musician, songwriter, producer and Colville Tribal Chairman in Washington State, Jim Boyd passed away on Tuesday, June 21st, 2016. He was a member of the Arrow Lakes tribe, which is one of the twelve tribes of the Colville Confederacy.
As one of the most active Native American recording artists, Jim Boyd’s music career spanned over four decades. He worked on projects for Miramax, Warner Brothers, Mega International Records, Dixie Frog Records, Sound of America Records, as well as audio-visual projects for businesses and colleges.
Jim Boyd released 15 records; Reservation Bound, Unity, Reservation Blues, First Come Last Served, AlterNatives, Jim Boyd w/ Alfonso Kolb Live At The Met, Kyo-t Live, Going To The Stick Games, Them Old Guitars, Live At Two Rivers, Blues To Bluegrass, Voices From The Lakes, Harley High, Living For The Sunny Days, and most recently Bridge Creek Road. Jim also managed his own career and operated his label, Thunderwolf Records.
At the Second Annual Native American Music Awards, Boyd received the award for Best Compilation Recording for the Smoke Signals soundtrack. At the Fifth Annual Awards, he won Record of the Year for his recording, AlterNatives. The next year he took Best Pop/Rock Recording for Live at the Met.
At the Seventh Annual Awards he received Record of the Year for Going to the Stick Games. He received Songwriter of the Year at the Eighth Annual Native American Music Awards for Them Old Guitars. He won Best Short Form Music Video for Inchelium at the Ninth Annual Awards; and he received the prestigious Artist of the Year Award at the Tenth Annual Native American Music Awards.
On November 14, 2014, Jim Boyd was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contributions in the field of Native American music at the 15th Annual commemoration held at the Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel in Salamanca, New York.
In addition to his wife Shelly, Jim Boyd is survived by his wife Shelly, his mother, Violet Boyd; brothers Lanny and Michael; sisters Pam, Luana and LaDonna; sons Joel, Dakota, Brian and Michael Carson, and daughter Stevey Seymour; nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Aaron White has been entertaining audiences in all four directions of the Earth. A multifaceted artist, he can be found working on a soundtrack or opening young minds to music and stories of the Native people of the United States of America. Performing with a Symphony and playing to a large festival audience. Whether solo or with his band The Blue Stone Project, Aaron White is always finding new ways to express American Indian music in songwriting or instrumental form.
Born in Oakland, California, Aaron grew up on and off the Northern Ute reservation. He is of two Nations, the Dine of Northern Arizona (Blacksheep Clan) and The Northern Ute tribe Whiteriver band.
Performing has always been in the blood of this singer-songwriter and flute player. Music has taken him to many places like the Hawaiian Islands, Europe and Canada, and also across the United States.
Aaron White was nominated for a Grammy with his group Burning Sky for Best Native American album in 2003 and they also won a Native American Music Award for Group of the Year in 2004. He has also become a flute maker when he is not on the road or in the studio. This has led him to doing art shows around the country and entering juried shows with his work. From museums to festivals you will find Aaron White showcasing his talent in song or cultural performance and having a great time with the people who he meets along the way.
Popular or famous Aaron White music songs include Twilight, Taking My Time, Two-Hearted River, Tragic Folk, Now You’re Gone, Old Muddy River, Deep Creek, Alaska, I’m feeling fine, Nine Below, Whisky & Gin, Employment Blues, and Sweet Wind.
Nominations for the 10th Annual Native American Music Awards (NAMA) were announced this week by The Native American Music Association & Awards, reflecting the combined votes of the NAMA Advisory Board Nominating Committee Membership. This year is a monumental year for the organization which will now have nominated an estimated 1500 artists and honored 300 winners over the past decade.
A new limited edition “NAMMY” will be introduced this year commemorating the organization’s 10th Anniversary year. The 10th Annual Native American Music Awards will be held on Saturday, October 4, 2008 at the Seneca Entertainment Center in the Seneca Casino & Hotel in Niagara Falls, New York. Tickets for the 10th Annual Native American Music Awards are on-sale now through all ticketmaster outlets. The Awards show will again be broadcast on MHZ Networks in November to an estimated 30 million cable households.
New up-and-comers were nominated alongside established artists in a diverse array of 30 music categories. Blackfire, Blackfoot, Brule & AIRO, The Blessed Blend, The Crow Girls, and The Red Corn Band lead with three nominations each.
Tied with two nominations each are; Blu, Carroll Medicine Crow, Cherokee National Youth Choir, Cheryl Bear, Chief Seattle Speaks, Delbert Blackhorse, Douglas Blue Feather, Dream Scape, Eagle & Hawk, Producer Ed Stasium, Edmund Bull, Fara Palmer, Gilbert Begay Sr, Golana, Injunuity, J.C. Campbell, Jim Boyd, Ken Quiet Hawk, Medicine Dream, Native Roots, Nightshield, Primeaux & Mike, Pura Fe’, R Carlos Nakai, Rain Song, Red Feather Woman, Rezhogs, Robert Mirabal, Sotiw, Star Nayea, Stevie Salas, Tanya Brown, Terri Rivera Piatt & Lancy Goodman, Terry Lee Whetstone, Tiger Tiger, Tracy Bone and Walter Ahhaitty & Friends.
This year’s Song Single Of The Year nominees represent more musical works within the Pop/Folk genres that feature distinctive Native American elements; All Colors Together by RainSong Terry & Darlene Wildman, Broken Dreams by Nightshield, Going To Gathering by The Blessed Blend, Hey Cuzzin’! by Cheryl Bear, Sleep Is The Ocean by The Crow Girls, and Way of the Warrior by Medicine Dream.
"These nominations throughout our 30 music categories truly reflect a diverse and impressive range of new and established talent from our community," said Awards President Ellen Bello. "We are looking forward to a spectacular Awards celebration running the full spectrum of today’s most popular contemporary and traditional Native American music initiatives.” Special Recognition Awards will also be given to internationally acclaimed artists; Janice Marie Johnson of A Taste of Honey, Pat Vegas & Redbone, Felipe Rose of the Village People and Rickey Medlocke of Blackfoot and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Voting ballots to select the final winner in each category will be mailed to all Advisory Board voting members. Voting ballots are also available to the general public on the websites listed at the end of the article.
For a complete list of official nominees for the 10th Annual Native American Awards see below: