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Artist Profiles: Robert Mirabal

Robert Mirabal

Robert Mirabal was born on October 6, 1966 in Taos Pueblo, New Mexico, USA.

There’s always a flute player in every tribe. I never would have guessed it at the time but I’ve become that flute player,” says Robert Mirabal.

The tribe is the Taos Pueblo. The time was when Robert was 18 and he encountered for the first time the Native American flute. Now his handcrafted flutes are in the Smithsonian National Museum.
From the pow-wow auction where he saw that first flute to Japan, the UK and all the world, Robert plays with the noble purpose of honoring the land his family his ancestors and his tribe, who have occupied the same area of Northern New Mexico for over a thousand years.

While deeply aware of his heritage Robert looks at the responsibility universally: “I offer my work as a healing for the human spirit and a remembrance of why we are all here together.”

Robert Mirabal

In addition to the music and instruments he creates, Robert is also a celebrated painter, poet and playwright. He is the author of A Skeleton of a Bridge, a book of poetry prose and short stories. He has lent his words and insights to several educational and documentary films, including two narrated by Robert Redford “Silent Witness” and “Sacred Sites.” He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts award and the New York Dance and Performer’s “Bessie” Award for composition.

Robert’s 2001 live album Music from a Painted Cave is also the title of a TV special of the same name that was broadcast by PBS.

Mirabal formed a band called Rare Tribal Mob that featured Robert Mirabal on vocals, flute, ocarina, percussion, didjeridu; Reynaldo Luján on tribal rhythms, vocals; Michael Kott on cello; Stev Castillo on guitars; Kenny Aronoff on drums, percussion; Star Nayea on vocals, percussion; Robin Peffer on bass; and Patrick Mirabal on vocals, flutes, percussion.

Discography:

Nomad, with Nomad and Mor Thiam (1994)
Song Carrier (1995)
Land (1995)
Warrior Magician (Silver Wave Records, 1996)
Native Suite, with Bill Miller (1996)
Mirabal (1997)
Native American Lullabies: Under The Green Corn Moon (1998)
Taos Tales (Silver Wave Records, 1999)
Music from a Painted Cave (Silver Wave Records, 2001)
Indians, Indians (2003)
Sacred Ground: A Tribute to Mother Earth (2005)
Johnny Whitehorse (Silver Wave Records, 2005)
Pueblo Christmas, with Patrick Mirabal (Silver Wave Records, 2007)
In the Blood (2007)
Johnny Whitehorse: Totemic Flute Chants (Silver Wave Records, 2007)
Johnny Whitehorse: Riders of the Healing Road (Silver Wave Records, 2007)
The River (Innova, 2016)

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Winners of The 17th Annual Native American Music Awards Announced

Newtown Singers

 

The 17th Annual Native American Music Awards were held on Saturday, October 14th at the Events Center at Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino in Niagara Falls, New York. The Seneca Nation’s traditional female vocal group, Newtown Singers opened the award ceremony.

Next came the award-winning powwow drum group, Northern Cree, who delivered a vibrant vocal and hand drum performance.

 

Northern Cree

 

Northern Cree was later joined by DJ Shub and his dubstep-influenced dance and electronica which took the entire segment from traditional into the future. Northern Cree won for Best Powwow Recording and shared their second win with DJ Shub for Best Music Video for the song, “Indomitable’ which was presented remotely by MTV’s Downtown Julie Brown.

 

 

Mickie James was inducted into the Native American Music Hall of Fame by actor Arthur Redcloud who appeared in the movie, The Revenant, with Leonardo DiCaprio. She also won for Single of the Year for “Shooting Blanks” and performed live three songs including her hit “Somebody’s Gonna Pay.”

Native American Music Awards 2017 Winners

Artist of the Year

Josh Halverson – “Year of the Thunderbird”

Debut Artist of the Year

Lucas Ciliberti – “Rainmaker”

Debut Group of the Year

Black Bear Brothers – “Songs from Cheyenne Creek”

Best Female Artist

Kelly Derrickson – “I Am”

Flutist of the Year

Randy McGinnis – “The Journey – hi a vi si i”

Group of the Year

The Cody Blackbird Band – “Live From Chicago”

Best Male Artist

Conrad Benally – “Always And Forever”

Record of the Year

Hoka” – Nahko and Medicine For The People

Nahko and Medicine For The People – Hoka

 

Song of the Year

“Shooting Blanks” – Mickie James

Best Music Video

“Indomitable” – DJ Shub & Northern Cree Singers

Best Music Video For A Performance

“Ascension” – Jan Michael Looking Wolf Band

 

Best Music Video For A Narrative

“Never Give Up” – Artson, Supaman & Quese Imc

Native Heart

Bearheart Kokopelli – “Native Heart”

Best Country Recording

“You’ve Got to Go Back the Way That You Came” – Danielle Egnew

Best Folk Recording

“Year of the Thunderbird” – Josh Halverson

Best Gospel/Inspirational

“Awake, Arise and Shine” – Callie Bennett

Best Instrumental Recording

Songs of the Earth” – Vince Redhouse

Vince Redhouse – Songs of the Earth

 

Best Native American Church Recording

“Simplicity” – Cheevers Toppah

Best Pop Recording

“Celebration” – Cherokee National Youth Choir

Best Pow Wow Recording

It’s A Cree Thing” – Northern Cree

Northern Cree – It’s A Cree Thing

 

Best Rap/Hip Hop/R&B Recording

“The 7th Generation Prophecy” – Sten Joddi

Best Rock / Best Blues Recording

“Take Me Back” – Levi Platero

Best Traditional Recording

“Before America” – James Edmund Greeley

Best Waila Recording

“Creed and Culture” – Native Creed

Lifetime Achievement Award

Gary Farmer

Honorary Award of Excellence

Arthur Redcloud

Hall of Fame

Mickie James

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The Serene Gift of the Flute

Tony Duncan – Purify

Tony Duncan – Purify (Canyon Records CR-7209, 2017)

Purify is the new album by American Indian musician Tony Duncan. He plays peaceful, meditative music on cedar and cane flutes. The Apache River cane flute comes from his father’s side of the family, the San Carlos Apache in Arizona. The cedar flute tradition was transmitted through Tony’s mother. She’s from North Dakota, part of the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara tribes.

Although Purify features exclusively solo flute, Tony Duncan adds exquisite overdubs, adding mesmerizing echoing flutes, as a form of distant call and response.

The titles of the musical pieces give you an accurate sense of the album’s atmosphere: Purify, Meditation, Restoring Balance, Emergence, Healing Prayer, Reflection, Restore, Buffalo Sage, Medicine Dream, Creation, Our Hidden Journey, and Luminaria.

Buy Purify

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Artist Profiles: Mary Youngblood

Mary Youngblood

Native American flute player Mary Youngblood was born on June 24, 1958 in Kirkland, Washington. Mary has Aleut and Seminole ancestry. She is one of the first Native women to record this sacred instrument, a role that has traditionally limited to men. Classically trained on several instruments Mary Youngblood has been playing the flute for over two decades.

Youngblood has a lifetime of musicianship behind her, starting with piano lessons at age six and guitar at ten; she is also a renowned classically trained flutist.

As an adult, when Youngblood received her first wooden Native flute she was compelled to pursue this ancient instrument traditionally played only by men. She has been honored with numerous awards and furthers her craft and knowledge of music and her Native traditions through teaching.

Her 5th album Dance with the Wind came out on May 23 2006 on Silver Wave Records. Inspired by the wisdom of nature Mary writes: “The trees have given a voice to me the voice that sings to you now.” Her eclectic musical style evokes feelings of freedom and gratitude for the blessings of life.

I am simply a vessel between Creator and this sacred instrument the Native American Flute. Listen with an open heart and you will hear the whispers of the Ancient Ones. May their timeless voices soothe your soul.”

Discography:

The Offering (Silver Wave Records, 1998)
Heart of the World (Silver Wave Records, 1999)
Beneath the Raven Moon (Silver Wave Records, 2002)
Feed the Fire (Silver Wave Records, 2004)
Dance with the Wind (Silver Wave Records, 2006)
Sacred Place: A Mary Youngblood Collection (Silver Wave Records, 2008)

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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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Contemporary Songs Inspired by Pow-Wow Chants

Wayne Silas, Jr. – Infinite Passion (Canyon Records CR-6512, 2017)

Wayne Silas, Jr., an American Indian singer with Menominee and Oneida background, has recorded an original album where he mixes Native American pow-wow chants and round dance influences with contemporary forms. While traditional pow-wow albums stick to a specific format, Wayne Silas, Jr. uses chants in a fascinating fashion, adding choruses, a really cool vocoder-style voice modulator effect that works really well and some other enhancements.

Guests on Infinite Passion include Randall Paskemin, Leroy Whitstone, Marlon Deschamps, Dan Isaac, Conan Yellowbird, Jacob Faithful, Candace Gadwa and Veronica Keeswood.

On Infinite Passion, Wayne Silas, Jr. wonderfully bridges Native American tradition and modernity.

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Artist Profiles: Kevin Locke

Kevin Locke

It is incredible to see the beauty of the people on this earth the vast richness of humankind. All people have the same impulses spirits and goals.”- Kevin Locke

Considered the world’s pre-eminent Lakota traditional-style flute player and hoop dancer Tokeya Inajin (Kevin Locke) was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts in 199. His life’s work is both a bridge and a balance of the traditional and the modern. He is a recognized authority on his native culture tradition and language and has a Master’s of Arts degree from the University of South Dakota in Educational Administration.

A popular lecturer and storyteller working to ensure his cultural heritage survives and prospers. Locke has traveled to 45 countries from Canada to China from Australia to Africa to Europe sharing his vision of balance joy and diversity through music and dance. As he explains “through my music and dance I wish to give voice to the beauty of the land and to help define the role of the human sprit in relationship to the immensity of this infinite hoop of life.” His belief in the unity of humankind is reflected in his dancing. Kevin uses 28 hoops to tell a story depicting such things as flowers butterflies stars the sun and an eagle. The hoops represent unity while the colors of the hoops -black red yellow and white – represent the four directions four seasons four winds and the four races of humankind. Towards the end of the dance all 28 hoops are interlocked in a spherical shape as fragile as the balance he works for in human affairs.

Locke is both an artist and educator. As a world citizen striving to forge bonds of harmony his contributions to both professions are unique.

Kevin Locke is a member of the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota.

Discography:

Flash of the Mirror

Dream Catcher (Earthbeat 1993)

Keepers of the Dream (Earthbeat 1995)

Love Songs of the Lakota (1995)

Open Circle (Makoche Records 1996)

First Flute (Makoche Records 1999)

Midnight Strong Heart (Red Feather 2003)

Earth Gift (2008)

Wind of the North (Red Feather 2008)

Preserving the Heritage Insights & Songs (2011)

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Artist Profiles: Keith Bear

Keith Bear

Keith Bear’s name in the Nu E’ta (Mandan) language is O’Mashi! Ryu Ta. It means Northern Lights or He Makes the Sky Burn with Great Flame. A self-taught flute player Bear has been performing since 1986. His critically acclaimed performances include traditional storytelling and the sacred Buffalo Dance ceremony which only honored tribal members may perform.

According to Keith “The Nu E’ta people have had flutes for hundreds of years using the wind birds and water from the Big and Little Missouri Rivers for accompaniment.” His first recording Echoes of the Upper Missouri reflects Keith’s desire to take each listener on a journey back to the bottom lands as in times passed. In fact the natural sounds heard on this release were recorded on location in the ancestral lands of the Mandan-Hidatsa people.

Keith’s accomplishments as a flute player and performer include extensive performances at schools conventions and state and national parks. During the summer of 1995 Keith made his professional acting debut in the feature film “Dakota Sunrise”. In July Keith performed on QVC’s Home Shopping Network and sold over 2 copies of Echoes of the Upper Missouri in less than 5 minutes.

Born and educated in North Dakota, Bear lives on the Fort Berthold Reservation and is the father of four children. He volunteers to help children on the Fort Berthold Reservation. When he’s not performing he enjoys beading quilling and making flutes

Discography:

Echoes of the Upper Missouri (Makoche Records, 1996)

Earthlodge (Makoche Records, 2000)

Morning Star Whispered (Makoche Records, 2007)

website: http://keithbear.net

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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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Ojibway Flute Meditations

Various Artists – Native American Flute – Wolf Tracks, The Hoopdancer, Grey Owl Walking

Various Artists – Native American Flute – Wolf Tracks, The Hoopdancer, Grey Owl Walking (ARC Music EUCD2660, 2016)

Native American Flute – Wolf Tracks, The Hoopdancer, Grey Owl Walking is an album of traditional melodies performed by members of the Ojibway people (also known as Ojibwe or Chippewa). The album consists of beautiful flute melodies with or without accompaniment.

On some of the pieces the flute is accompanied by gentle drums, rattles, guitars, soundscape electronics, and sounds of nature such as the wind, rain, thunderstorms, howling wolves, crickets and more.

Wolf Tracks, The Hoopdancer, Grey Owl Walking is ideal for relaxing, while the flute lets your mind wander.

Buy Native American Flute – Wolf Tracks, The Hoopdancer, Grey Owl Walking

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