Category Archives: Native Music

Beautiful Native Makes American Idol A- List!

O’siyo. It’s always wonderful to see our Native youths accomplish positive feats. Aranesa Turner  a 20-year-old member of the Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians, has received her “Golden Ticket” enabling her to compete in Hollywood on the hit TV show American Idol.

Native American Aranesa Turner is a member of the Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians. Photo-

Native American Aranesa Turner is a member of the Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians. Photo-

Excerpt: A Native ‘American Idol’ Winner? Aranesa Turner Has a Shot By ICTNM

“On Thursday night, 20-year-old Aranesa Turner was selected by the American Idol judges to receive a so-called “Golden Ticket” — a trip to Hollywood to compete against other hopefuls on the long-running entertainment contest.

Aranesa Turner, 20, competes on Idol.

Aranesa Turner, 20, competes on Idol.

Aranesa is a member of the Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians. As she explained on Twitter, her mother was born and raised on the Big Valley Rancheria reservation, and her father is African American. She is believed to be the first Native American to be selected for the main competition of American Idol. Some previous contestants may have had some American Indian heritage, but none we’re aware of have self-identified as Native.

Aranesa Turner. Photo-

Aranesa Turner. Photo-

Prior to embarking on her American Idol journey, Aranesa attended Northwest Indian College. An American Idol recapper for Yahoo TV agreed that Aranesa was among the top prospects, and cited a not-so-secret weapon: “It has to be said, the girl is so ridiculously stunning that she rivals even J.Lo in the beauty department.”

My heart is really for people, and I want to give back. ~Aranesa Turner~ Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians,  2014 Idol contestant.

Kudos to Aranesa and her determination to give back to the people. We wish her the best of luck!  You can see the next American Idol program on Wednesday February 5, and Thursday February 6, 2014, the Fox network.


Category: Native Music

Buffy Sainte-Marie: Honored By NMAI-2013!

O’siyo. The National Museum Of  The American Indian (NMAI) will Honor singer and Native rights activist Buffy Sainte-Marie for Women’s History Month onThursday March 14, 2013. Ms. Marie is a member of the Cree Nation and has inspired many Natives  (and non-Natives) with her songs, good will, and most especially her projects for children.

Buffy’s website

Women’s History Month Honors Buffy Sainte-Marie Thursday, March 14, 2013, 6 PM

New York, NY American Indian Museum Heye Center -Diker Pavilion


 “Buffy Sainte-Marie (Cree) won an Oscar for the song “Up Where We Belong”, which is also the name of the museum’s popular music exhibition. The artist is featured in a Native Sounds Downtown concert, which highlights old hits and new compositions focused on “the art of the protest song.” -NMAI-2013

The Many Faces of Buffy Sainte-Marie

Buffy St. Marie. Photo- Website

“Buffy Sainte-Marie was a graduating college senior in 1962 and hit the ground running in the early Sixties,.. she toured North America’s colleges, reservations and concert halls…By age 24, Buffy Sainte-Marie had appeared all over Europe, Canada, Australia and Asia, receiving honors, medals and awards, which continue to this day….her “Universal Soldier” became the anthem of the peace movement. For her very first album she was voted Billboard’s Best New Artist.

Running For The Drum CD. Her site.

She disappeared suddenly from the mainstream American airwaves during the Lyndon Johnson years. Unknown to her, as part of a blacklist which affected Eartha Kitt, Taj Mahal and a host of other outspoken performers, her name was included on White House stationery as among those whose music “deserved to be suppressed”, and radio airplay disappeared…In Indian country and abroad, however, her fame only grew.

Buffy with her Beautiful horse. website

Buffy with Big bird on Sesame Street. Buffy site.

Denied an adult television audience in the U.S., in 1975 she joined the cast of Sesame Street for five years. She continued to appear at countless grassroots concerts, AIM (American Indian Movement) events and other activist benefits in Canada and the U.S… and won an Academy Award Oscar and a Golden Globe Award for the song Up Where We Belong.”

Photo for the Popular Native Peoples Magazine 2008.

Buffy’s wonderful CradleBoard Project for children.

Beautiful photo by Annie Liebovitz-2008.

Up Where We Belong  Music Exhibition August 4, 2012 – August 11, 2013

“This banner exhibition highlights Native people who have been active participants in contemporary music for nearly a century…Many have been involved in each form of popular music — from jazz and blues to folk, country, and rock. In this exhibition their stories will be told, along with the history behind them. Visitors can hear samples of these music greats and find out with whom they collaborated, learn by whom they were inspired, and consider contemporary artists whom they influenced. Highlights include Jimi Hendrix’s (Cherokee) colorful patchwork full-length leather coat.”

Video of Buffy Sainte-Marie singing “Up Where We Belong”

“Instead of kids just hearing about beads and baskets and fringe, and about what ‘was’ and ‘were,’ we present Native American culture as a living contemporary culture.”~Artist Buffy Saint-Marie~ Cree Nation

We extend our Congratulations and Blessings to Buffy and her wonderful projects!


Category: Native Music

The Beautiful Joy Harjo Still “Crazy Brave”

O’siyo. Joy Harjo (a Talking Feather favorite) is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She is a poet, singer, musician, and author. She has written another winner.  Her new book “Crazy Brave” is a memoir describing her long and complex journey to becoming a poet. She sat down for an interview with NPR’s Neal Conan, to discuss her new book, and what led her to write it.

The Beautiful Joy Harjo Still Crazy Brave!

Excerpt: Joy Harjo’s ‘Crazy Brave’ Path To Finding Her Voice  By Neal Conan, NPR

“In her new memoir, Joy Harjo recounts how her early years — a difficult childhood with an alcoholic father and abusive stepfather, and the hardships of teen motherhood — caused her to suppress her artistic gifts and nearly brought her to her breaking point. “It was the spirit of poetry,” she writes in Crazy Brave, who reached out and found me as I stood there at the doorway between panic and love.

NPR’s Neal Conan talks with Harjo, now an acclaimed poet, performer and writer of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, about the dreams, visions and heartache that led her to find her voice as a

poet and musician…On how trauma in her early years acted as roadblocks to creativity: Sometimes, I think, in order to get to something that we really want or we really love or something that needs to be realized, that we’re tested. I mean, I think if you look at any stories all over the world, they are usually set up as, OK, here’s where I start, here is where I want to go, and here are the tests. And they were pretty intense tests … I failed a lot of them, or you find a way around. And maybe there is no such thing as failure … that’s kind of what I’ve had to come to. Yes, I mean, there’s times … when we fail. But it’s a useful thing.

At least I’ve had to come to that in my life, to realize that this stuff called failure, this stuff, this debris of historical trauma, family trauma, you know, stuff that can kill your spirit, is actually raw material to make things with and to build a bridge. You can use those materials to build a bridge over that which would destroy you… the book goes up to the time I start writing poetry, which was – I needed to. I needed to find my voice, I think, in order to live. And this came at that time when I turned around, and I was forced to turn around and look at the monster and see the monster. And this poem came out, almost – I usually revise.”

Read more about this fascinating woman, musician, artist, and positive role-model.

“Someone accompanies every soul from the other side when it enters this place. Usually it is an ancestor with whom that child shares traits and gifts” ~Joy Harjo~

Like Joy Harjo and other smart Natives: VOTE!


Category: Native Music

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

A Little More Than Pow Wows

Osiyo. Pow Wows are the American Indian way of  gathering to join in dancing, singing, visiting, renewing old friendships and making new ones. This is a time to renew the culture and preserve the rich heritage of American Indians. In addition to Pow Wows, this is also the time for noting American Indian artists, singers, poets, and classical musicians who inspire others, especially young people, through their art. We’ve  high-lighted some wonderful artists for you to enjoy. (Additional Artists’ information)

Guitarist Gabriel Ayala-Photo Gallery

Tango cd by Gabriel Ayala

Tango cd by Gabriel Ayala

Poet and Author Joy Harjo-photo- Harjo site

Poet and Author Joy Harjo-You Tube “Reality Site”

Red Dreams cd by Joy Harjo

Red Dreams cd by Joy Harjo

Conductor and Composer Jerod Tate-photo Chickasaw Nation

Conductor Jerod Tate- You Tube

Painting: Winds of Change by Juane Quick-to-See Smith

Painting: Winds of Change by Juane Quick-to-See Smith


Category: Native Music