Tag Archives: Native American music

Artist Profiles: Cornel Pewewardy

Cornel Pewewardy – Photo by Mike Habermann

Cornel Pewewardy (flute and vocals) is the lead singer of the Alliance West Singers.

Dr. Pewewardy was born in Lawton Oklahoma of Comanche and Kiowa parents is a member of the Comanche Tribe of Oklahoma and is known as an accomplished singer among the Comanche Kiowa and Ponca people.

His ability to compose songs and play the flute was nurtured by his Comanche uncle the late George “Woogie” Watchetaker, a direct descendant of Chief Wild Horse. Woody Bigbow (Kiowa) presented Cornel his first Indian flute in 1975 in Anadarko, Oklahoma. Cornel is also a recognized educator and has received several prestigious awards.

Discography:

Spirit Journey (Soar Records 1993)

Dancing Buffalo: Dances and Flute Songs (Music of the World, 1994)

Between Father Sky and Mother Earth, with other artists (Narada, 1995)

Comanche Hymns from the Prairie (SOAR/Natural Visions, 1996)

Arctic Refuge – A Gathering of Tribes (Soundings Of The Planet)

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Artist Profiles: Bill Miller

Bill Miller

Bill Miller has long been one of the most admired figures in the Native American music arena and beyond. A Grammy award-winning recording artist, and six-time N.A.M.A. award winner, Bill hails from northern Wisconsin (his tribe is called Mahicanuk which means People From Where The Waters Are Never Still).

His Indian name, Fush-Ya Heay Ka, means “bird song”. He learned traditional songs at an early age and later began to play folk music and bluegrass as well as the Native American flute, which he came to master.

Miller has written songs with the likes of Nancy Griffith, Peter Rowan and Kim Carnes, and shared the stage with national recording artists such as; Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, the BoDeans, Richie Havens, Arlo Guthrie and Tori Amos who he was the opening act for her ‘Under The Pink’ U.S. and Canadian 2 date tour. Guthrie states of Miller, “he has always reminded me of what our singers and writers are all about, singing what cannot be spoken, echoing what cannot be heard, in ways that ring true and honest.”

Miller’s long recording career includes remarkable albums such as: Loon, Mountain and Moon, The Red Road, Reservation Road Live, Raven in the Snow, Ghostdance and The Art of Survival. Over the past years, Bill has produced several projects, including Spirit Rain and Cedar Dream Songs that blend Native American and western folk/blues traditions in something wholly new. Spirit Rain and Cedar Dream Songs bought Bill great recognition and earned him a Grammy Award for Best Native American Recording. He has an equally active career as a painter and his work has been shown and sold in prestigious galleries around the country. He is currently working with John Carter Cash for his next recording.

Bill Miller is also available for the College Lecture Circuit. He shares the rich heritage of his Native American roots; the trials and tribulations of overcoming the stereotype of our Native Americans. Bill becomes the storyteller; explaining how he draws from visual images of a medicine man, when he writes or paints. He demonstrates the creative process, both musically and visually; how they are one in the same.

Bill’s lecture topics include Life on the Reservation, Music, Art, Community Outreach and Awareness. Bill normally spends the day in the classrooms and then brings the community together for an evening concert.

Discography

Bill Miller and Native Sons (Windspirit, 1983)
Old Dreams and New Hopes (Windspirit, 1987)
The Art of Survival (Vanguard, 1990)
Loon, Mountain And Moon (Vanguard, 1991)
Reservation Road – Live (Vanguard, 1992)
The Red Road (Warner Western, 1993)
Raven in the Snow (Warner Nashville, 1995)
Native Suite: Chants, Dances, and the Sacred Earth, with Robert Mirabal (Warner Western, 1996)
Ghostdance (Vanguard, 1999)
Healing Waters (JVO Records, 1999)
Hear our Prayer (Integrity, 2000)
Spirit Rain (Paras, 2002)
A Sacred Gift (Paras, 2003)
Cedar Dream Songs (Paras, 2004)
Spirit Songs: The Best of Bill Miller (Vanguard, 2004)
Spirit Wind North (Cool Springs Music Group, 2009)
Spirit Wind East (Cool Springs Music Group, 2010)
Chronicles of Hope (Cool Springs Music Group, 2010)

http://www.billmiller.net

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Artist Profiles: Kevin Yazzie

Kevin Yazzie

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.

Discography

* First Light (Canyon Records CR-6436)
* Awakening of Life (Canyon Records CR-6458, 2009)
* Faith (Canyon Records CR-6444, 2008)
* Hope: Harmonized Peyote Songs of the Native American Church (Canyon Records, 2010)
* Love: Songs of the Native American Church (Canyon Records, 2011)
* Charity: Songs of the Native American Church (Canyon Records, 2013)

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Artist Profiles: Jay Begaye

Jay Begaye

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.

Discography

* Honoring Our Ways (Soar, 1995)

* The Beauty Way (Canyon Records CR-6282)

* The Long Walk, with Everitt White (Canyon Records CR-6288)

* Live at Window Rock, with Cathedral Lakes Singers (Canyon Records CR-6296)

* Round Dance In Beauty (Canyon Records CR-6328)

* Song of Colors (Canyon Records CR-6356)

* The Colorful World (Canyon Records CR-6403)

* Night of the Northern Lights, with Tiinesha Begaye (Canyon Records CR-6440)

* Horses Are Our Journey, with Tiinesha Begaye (Canyon Records CR-6467, 2010)

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Enduring Kinship and Hope Navajo Songs

Radmilla Cody – K’é Hasin

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.

Buy K’é Hasin

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Artist Profiles: Bryan Akipa

Bryan Akipa

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.

Bryan Akipa

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.”

Discography
 
* Love Flute
* Mystic Moments (Soar Records, 1995)
* The Flute Player (Makoche Records, 1996)
* Thunderflute (Soar Records, 1998)
* Song of the Aspen (Red Cedar Flute, 2004)
* Songs From the Black Hills (Soar Records, 2008)
* Eagle Dreams (Akipa Productions, 2009)

web site: www.bryanakipa.com

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Artist Profiles: R. Carlos Nakai

R. Carlos Nakai

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.

Discography

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)

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Nakai’s Southwestern Jams

R. Carlos Nakai Quartet – What Lies Beyond (Canyon Records CR-7211, 2016)

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.

Buy R. Carlos Nakai Quartet – What Lies Beyond

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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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Native American Musician and Colville Tribal Chairman, Jim Boyd Dies at 60

Jim Boyd
Jim Boyd

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.

 

Jim Boyd
Jim Boyd

 

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.

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