Tag Archives: Native American music

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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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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