A Beautiful Woman Who Hears Her Own Native Drummer

Martha Redbone charts her own distinctive course, marches to her own beat By Kara Briggs, American Indian News Service

Martha Redbone, Skintalk. photo- home page

Martha Redbone in performance at Hopestock-NMAI. photo By Craig Bailey, Perspective Photos

Osiyo, Singer Martha Redbone’s music is an intriguing blend that reflects her rich heritage. The cool R&B of her African-American father mixes well with the rhythmic sounds of the Cherokee-Shawne-Choctaw from her mother’s tribes…

Her songs first  became hits in Europe and England,  where the people weren’t aware there were “American Indians still alive” in this country.  This exceptional lady has also continuously helped the youth from the Houma Nation, and other tribes. Excerpt:

“New York—Recording artist Martha Redbone’s Native American-infused soul is all her own. Redbone is an independent artist who is as likely to include a powwow drum as she is jazz riffs in her highly danceable music. Her second album, “Skintalk,” is a sophisticated blend that is powered not by electronics but by a funk-rock band of veteran musicians…Redbone, who grew up in Brooklyn and calls herself a mixed blood, Cherokee, Shawnee and Choctaw on her mother’s side, and African American on her father’s… As a young artist rooted in Otis Redding, Earth, Wind & Fire, and the Stomp Dance songs of her mother’s tribes, Redbone already had this vision for blending musical traditions…

In 2000, Redbone released the solo album, “Home of the Brave”…The album won her the Best Debut Artist award at the Native American Music Awards and Indian Summer Music Award for Best Pop Album… Redbone’s powerful Native-infused soul delivery and social commentary won her accolades in the indie music world…Redbone’s heritage guides her life.When after a performance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival she met Brenda Dardar-Robichaux, then the principle chief of the United Houma Nation, and heard about the tribe’s efforts to share culture with their youth. For the last four summers she has traveled to this bayou nation where she shares songs that are culturally relevant to Houma’s six to 12-year-olds. Some songs are Choctaw, some in Houma French, and others are just beautiful when sung with a hand drum… Redbone’s hybridization of soul, R&B and Native music is in the tradition of contemporary artists like Keith Secola and Bill Miller…She is constantly brainstorming how she can help not only the Houma but youth across Indian Country…It’s really important that there are people like me representing and telling our stories to the world, Redbone said.”

We encourage everyone to read the entire article about this fascinating woman!

“…there are only 12 notes in a scale, or only so far that each style of music can go before it runs out of fresh material. The only way forward is to make new hybridizations” ~Artist Quincy Jones~ (1933-)

“We-sha-cat-we-lo-ke-we-la-wapa (Shawnee) Let us always do good for the world…”~Martha Redbone~


Category: Native Music