Tag Archives: Joseph FireCrow

Renowned Native American Flute Player and Composer Joseph FireCrow Dies at 58

Joseph Firecrow

The Native American Music Awards & Association (NAMA) announced late last night that Award-winning Cheyenne musician and composer Joseph FireCrow died on Tuesday, July 11th, at his home in Winsted, Connecticut.

Jan Michael Looking Wolf (Kalapuya/Grande Ronde) remembers Joseph as a “beautiful human being filled with love and light” who enjoyed “coming together with other artists and giving thanks.”

Gary Small (Northern Cheyenne) states, “It’s a sad day to learn that my brother in arms has passed. Maheo’ bless Joe. I will miss you forever.”

Flutist Rona YellowRobe (Cree) called Joseph “gracious and wonderful…His smile was BIG and Beautiful and could light up your day.”

Cody Thomas Blackbird (Cherokee/Dakota) posted, “The world lost an amazing being, the music industry lost the greatest Native flutist and traditional musician to ever grace a stage, and I lost one of my best friends.”

Spencer Battiest (Seminole) shared, “My heart is heavy today to hear about the passing of my dear friend. Joseph’s gentle spirit and authentic approach taught me so much. I will forever be grateful for the times we’ve shared over the years, and I will keep you in my heart and on stage with me for life!

Native American Music Awards President, Ellen Bello stated, “Joseph was one of the most humble and genuine artists from the Native music community. His big, beautiful smile, sincere kindness and undeniable talent touched and influenced everyone in his path. I am heartbroken to learn of the passing of our friend, Joseph from his wife Joann. Not only was he one of our leading Award winners, but even more than that, he was an incredible human being who was truly loved by all.”

At the 16th Annual Native American Music Awards last September 17, 2016 at Seneca Allegany Casino, Joseph FireCrow received a Lifetime Achievement Award honoring him as a leading American Indian singer-songwriter, flute player, vocalist and musician.

Calling/Viewing hours will be from 2 – 6 on Saturday, July 15, 2017 at Maloney Funeral Home. Address: 55 Walnut St, Winsted, CT 06098. Phone: (860) 379-3794. Services will began immediately thereafter. A private burial is at the convenience of the family.

Cards and memorial gifts can be sent directly to Joann at: PO Box 173, Winsted, CT 06098. In Lieu of flowers please send contributions and donations to: Northern Cheyenne Girls and Boys Club, P.O. Box 309, Lame Deer, MT 59043-0309.

To leave your online condolences, visit www.maloneyfuneral.com/notices/Joseph-FirecrowJr/guest-book

Joseph FireCrow is survived by his wife, Joann Moore, children Brandon, Karrie, Joseph III, Damian and Jared, his five siblings and three grandchildren.

For more information about Joseph FireCrow and his discography, read Artist Profiles: Joseph FireCrow

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Artist Profiles: Joseph Firecrow

Joseph Firecrow

Joseph Firecrow’s musical journey began as a child. “Drums were a regular part of our lives. In the summer were the war dances now called powwows. As kids we would imitate the drummers on my mother’s galvanized washtub.”

The very first time I heard the flute I was a young boy living on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation located in Southeastern Montana. Grover Wolfvoice was the fluteman playing this wonderful music.”

The music was beautiful to my ears yet it scared me. There was much poverty and depression at that time. The sound of the flute touched my heart where there was much pain and uncertainty. Through all of the hardships of reservation life the beauty and wonder of our homeland beckoned to me.”

Born in Montana and raised on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation until he was nine years old Joseph attended public school and a Catholic school before being placed with a foster family in Seattle as part of the Mormon Indian Placement program. He joined them in their Mormon worship and attended Brigham Young University in Provo Utah as was expected of him.

I was starting to forget my Cheyenne Language and heritage. I needed to find out who I really was but I also had a lot of opportunities given to me and I wanted to take advantage of them.”

Just when it appeared he might forsake his Native American ancestry, two events happened that lead Joseph back to his people. Joseph reconnected to his heritage through music while he was in college and he read the book Cheyenne Memories by John Stands. “It was pivotal in my life in teaching me about the Creator and how we are tied to the land and animals.”

After three-and-a-half years of college education he returned to his reservation where it took a number of years to be totally accepted. “When I first went home, I sat in with my uncle’s drum group and there were certain members who said ‘̶What are you doing here? Are you trying to be an Indian?’”

Despite the initial adversity, Fire Crow re-integrated into his tribe and became a respected fluteman who was frequently called upon to perform at various community events such as weddings and funerals. He also shares his music and tribal history through lectures and workshops which include lessons in flutemaking.

Joseph Firecrow

The Northern Cheyenne to this day are still very much a traditional and ceremonial people. These things give us our identity. The wooden flute is a tradition that is passed on from one generation to the next. Through our oral history stories legends ceremonies societies and songs our culture is maintained. The flute is kept in the same manner. The legend of how the flute came to the people the songs that are called wolf-songs and the construction of the flute are all kept strong and vibrant.”

In 1992 Fire Crow recorded the album The Mist. Two years later he released a second self-produced recording Rising Bird. These recordings were sold only at concerts.

In April of 1996 his self-titled release Fire Crow was one of the first recordings to be launched nationally on the Makoche label and was one of the label’s best sellers.

Fire Crow’s follow-up album Cheyenne Nation is a soulful mixture of traditional flute and contemporary instrumentation promoting the unity of the Cheyenne people.

In 1995 Fire Crow’s songs “Creator’s Prayer” and “Wind in My Mind” were selected to open and close the best selling album Tribal Winds: Music from Native American Flutes on the Earthbeat label. Ken Burns also chose some of Fire Crow’s music to be included on the soundtrack for his documentary “Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery.”

Fire Crow is included on Earthbeat’s Tribal Voices and Tribal Waters compilations as well as being a major contributor to several European releases including Shaman Circles of Life and Medicine Power on the German label Sattva.

Joseph has won numerous Native American Music Awards (NAMA).

Discography:

The Mist (1992)
Rising Bird (1994)
Fire Crow (Makoché Music, 1996)
Cheyenne Nation (2000)
Legend of the Warrior (2003)
Red Beads (Makoché Music, 2005)
Face the Music (2009)
Night Walk (2012)

http://www.josephfirecrow.com

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Results of 16th Annual Native American Music Awards

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
Shelley Morningsong

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.

Native American Music Awards 2016 Winners

Artist of the Year

Shelley Morningsong
Love Medicine

Best Blues Recording
All Our Relations
Blue Mountain Tribe

Best Country Recording
Reservation Girl
Desert West

Debut Artist
Logan Staats
Goodbye Goldia

Debut Duo Of The Year
David Rose & Pete Barnhart
Falling To Grace

Best Female Vocalist
Fawn Wood
Kikawiynaw

Best Folk Spoken Word Recording
Native American Songs & Stories for Children
Sue Straw

Flutist of The Year
Rona Yellow Robe
Shoot For the Moon

Group of the Year
Rain Dance
Lil Mike & FunnyBone

Best Inspirational Recording
Heart and Soul
Conrad Benally

Best Historical Recording
Mackenzie’s Raid
7 Trees

Best Instrumental Recording
The Navajo Piano
Connor Chee

Best Male Vocalist
Roman Orona
Circling Spirits Contemporary Apache Songs

Best Pop Recording
Stupid In Love
Spencer Battiest

Best Pow Wow Recording
Born To Sing
Young Bear

Best Rap/Hip Hop Recording
The Addiction
Night Shield

Record of the Year
Bridge Creek Road
Jim Boyd

Best Rock Recording
Spirit Cry
Spirit Cry

Single of the Year
Come and Get Your Love
B. of Dakota South Records

Best Traditional Recording
Sisters in Spirit
Women of Heart

Best Music Video
Rez Life
Blue Flamez

Best Waila Recording
In Loving Memory of Our Beloved Father & Uncle
Family Pride

Native Heart
Michael Longrider
In Through the Mist

Entertainers of the Year
Williams & Ree

Lifetime Achievement
Joseph FireCrow

Living Legend
Saginaw Grant

Hall Of Fame
Taboo

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