Native Sounds

Musician Ras K'dee (Pomo Tribe of California) is from the San Francisco Bay area. He is also co-founder of S.N.A.G. Magazine--Seventh Native American Generation--a non-profit organization that aims to work with Native youth and their struggles.

Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. Impichchaachaaha’ is a Chicksaw name that translates to “High Corn Crib” in English, it describes an elevated crib used to house the family’s corn. Tate is very proud of his Chickasaw heritage and includes the family name in his works.

Randall Warren Heavilin (Navajo) is a classically trained cellist and composer from Austin Texas. A graduate of The Berklee College of Music, Heavilin: composes, performs, and produces a variety of music for films and other media outlets.

Recently, Randall has composed the score for Yellow Fever, a documentary film that follows the Uranium boom on Navajo lands, and the effects that it has had on the people living there.

Hawk Henries is a gifted flutist and flute maker from the Nipmuc tribe in southern New England. He has performed at various venues across the United States and around the world. Hawk first learned to make flutes after he ruined his own flute and was forced to repair it over the course of several months. Those months of repair lead to a passion for creating flutes that has lasted over 20 years.

Hawk believes in creating his instruments through traditional techniques and the use of hand tools.

Jack Gladstone is from the Blackfeet Indian Nation of Montana and a "storysmith." Regarded as a cultural bridge builder, he delivers programs across the nation, on American Indian history.

Jack recently was honored with the CM Russel Heritage Award, and a Native American Music Award.

2013 marks the 29th year that Jack has been sharing insight about about Montana's Indigenous people at Glacier National Park.

Swil Kanim (Lummi) is an award-winning violinist and inspirational speaker. He travels throughout the United States, inspiring audiences through his music and personal stories. His compositions incorporate classical influences and reflect his journey from depression and despair to spiritual and emotional freedom.

Swil Kanim is also the president of Honor Works, a nonprofit organization who mission is "to create and ignite the potential for Honor among all people."

Brent Michael Davids (Stockbridge-Munsee Band of the Mohican Nation) is a classically trained musician and composer. He has been a long-time fixture in the music scene of the Minneapolis-St. Paul region of Minnesota, but is now building a new home and studio on his reservation in Wisconsin. Through the American Composers Forum (ACF), he’s a founder of the First Nations Composer Initiative (FNCI). Known for his artistic flair and top hat, through the Blue Butterfly Group, Davids has received numerous commissions and honors.

Raven Chacon is a member of the Dine’ Nation and an experimental musician, composer and educator. Raven has been building his own instruments for creating new sounds since he was a child growing up in Chinle. Today he teaches Native youth through various programs including the Native American Composers Apprenticeship Project (NACAP).

We recently  talked with Raven about his influences, composing and the next generation of Native musicians.

Written by Eric Martin

In 2000, Principal Chief Chadwick Smith saw a need to preserve the Cherokee language and to find a way to get youth involved. He got the idea to start a youth choir. A year later, the choir was in need of a new director and an administrative assistant. Fluent Cherokee speaker and tribal member Kathy Sierra was asked to step-in until a director was found. Mary Kay Henderson, a member of the Cherokee Nation, applied for the position and was chosen as director.

Kevin Locke (Anishinabe/Lakota) got his start as a Native flutist with songs from a vinyl record titled "Sioux Favorites." From there, he learned to play flute from Elders who knew other traditional Native flute music.

Kevin was inspired by many artists growing up because his mother, Patricia Locke, worked with numerous Native American tribes to establish colleges, promote educational programs on reservations, and aid in the restoration of Native American culture and languages.

Jennifer is Oneida and Lakota. She was raised mostly in Wisconsin close to her Oneida culture. Jennifer's Oneida name is Wakoshi.yo and it translates to "a bird with colorful feathers," or "peacock." She participated in the traditional Oneida naming ceremony and was given her name from her grandmother. Jennifer incorporated her Oneida name in her artwork and named her website after it.

Leanne Goose (Dene and Inuvialuit) is from the Northwest Territories of Canada. She grew up traveling with her father’s band and began her musical career at a young age. Leanne's voice mixes soft, sultry and soul into a sound like no one can. Her music can go from blues to rock to country. Leanne loves music and enjoys sharing it with an array of audiences.

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