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.
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."
In February 2013, Swil Kanim talked to Landon Mattison about music, culture, inspiration and the foster care system.
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.
Davids holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music Composition from Northern Illinois University and Arizona State University respectively. He scored Sherman Alexie’s The Business of Fancy Dancing. Most recently, his music is featured in Opal, by Navajo filmmaking Ramona Emerson.
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.
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. Principal Chief Chadwick Smith was excited to have a new direction for the choir and hoped Mary Kay would take them to the next level.
The choir has grown to 50 members ranging from 6th to 12th grades. All members are required to be citizens of the Cherokee Nation but are not required to be fluent Cherokee speakers. In 2002, the Cherokee National Children’s Choir released their first album with Rita Coolidge, a member of the Cherokee Nation and Grammy(R) Award-winning singer. The choir won the ‘Best Gospel/ Christian Recording’ from the 5th Annual Native American Music Awards for their first album titled, Voices of the Creator’s Children. Since then, the choir has been nominated for numerous awards from a variety of Native American music award organizations, and has won many of those nominations.
In 2004, the Cherokee National Youth Choir traveled to Washington, D.C., to perform at the opening ceremony for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. While in D.C., the choir was asked to perform for the President of the United States at the White House.
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.
Kevin began recording traditional flute music in 1982 and has over a dozen albums of music and stories that he has recorded over the years. He learned the Hoop Dance from an Elder who taught him once in person and then followed up in the form of dreams after the Elder passed away. The Elder had told Kevin that he would travel to see many places and meet many people. Kevin has traveled to more than 80 countries and won the National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The Fellowship recognizes folk artists who have made an impact within their respective region.
Recently, New Media Specialist Eric Martin talked with Kevin about his upbringing, how he learned to dance the Hoop Dance style and his music.
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.
Jennifer became interested in classical music after hearing her parents listening to it. When she was young, she also learned how to create Oneida pottery and has since then mastered the craft. She also paints and creates sculptures. She is diverse in the arts and enjoys creating new pieces that reflect her life and culture.
Recently, Production Assistant Tobias Grant (Omaha) spoke with Jennifer. Tobias asked Jennifer about her Oneida culture, her documentary, and her experience as a performing artist.
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.
Leanne has released two albums Anywhere in 2008 and Got You Covered in 2011. Both Albums have earned Leanne a number of nominations and notoriety. Leanne is an up-and-coming songwriter and the Native American music community has taken notice.
Recently, Production Assistant Tobias Grant (Omaha) talked with Leanne after her performance on Stage 49 during the Gathering of Nations Powwow. Tobias asked Leanne about her sound and experience as a Native musician.