August 09, 2013

Quetzal Guerrero: The man with the blue violin

QUetzal Guerrero close-up
Quetzal Guerrero, accompanied by percussionist Leo Costa, at the National Museum of the American Indian. Washington, D.C., July 20, 2013. Photo by Maria E. Renteria, NMAI. 

The singer and multi-instrumentalist Quetzal Guerrero filled the National Museum of the American Indian’s Potomac Atrium with the music of his roots. Guerrero has Native American, Mexican, and Brazilian heritage, making this music one of a kind.  

Guerrero visited Washington, D.C., as part of the museum’s 2013 Living Earth Festival. Guerrero played at the festival’s Indian Summer Showcase concert Saturday night, July 20. If you missed the concert, or if you were there and want to re-experience a fun night, video is available on the museum’s YouTube channel.

NMAI caught up with Guerrero to talk about his music and his blue violin.

Tell us about your background.

My mother is from Northeastern Brazil in a city called Recife, which is in a small state called Pernambuco. She is a musician. She’s a classically trained pianist since the age of five. She raised us all playing/learning classical music from an early on age.

She played a lot of Brazilian guitar. She taught me bossa nova. My first Joe Beam song, she taught me how to play that. She is very musical.

My father, his name is Saco Guerrero. He is an artist, muralist, mass maker, chicano artist. He actually published various books. He’s a native of Arizona. His family has roots from Northern Mexico, Yaqui Indian from Durango. He also has heritage from the Juaneño tribe, from the San Clemente area in California. He is a native of the Southwest. He is fifth-generation born and raised in Mesa, Arizona. My great-great-grandfather was actually one of the founders of Mesa, along with a lot of Mormon settlers. He was non-Mormon, took part in building the community. So I was raised in a very artistic, creative family, doing a lot of music and doing a lot of visual art. It gave me the direction and visual of who I am today. That is my background in a nutshell.

Your mom is the reason why you play the violin?

Yes, my mom is definitely the reason. My mom taught my dad. He played an Andean flute, called the quena. They had a musical group that they performed and traveled with even before I was born. So I was pretty much born into the music, performing and playing ever since I was a young kid. It was part of my daily activities and daily life. So when I was a child, my mom wanted to choose an instrument that I could play and have a discipline to study. I was watching Sesame Street, and I saw Itzhak Perlman perform and saw kids too playing the violin. “Mom, that is what I want to play.” I was like three or four years old. So she said, “If that is what you want to play, we’re going to get you lessons and we are going to start learning.”

I began to study in the Suzuki Method, which is a very popular method used to teach young children how to play at very early age. What you do is you learn by ear first, before you learn how to read. As oppose to the school system that teaches you read and play at the same time, so the prerequisite age is much older. You can start [that way] when you are nine or ten, because at the point you already know how to read and write. The Suzuki method is kind how you learn how to speak. You learn by listening and mimicking, and then you learn how to speak.  You learn how to read and write later. That is the method I learned my violin on.

Later on, around twelve years old, I began to sing. I started taking choir classes at school. I started teaching myself guitar. My mom also taught me some guitar. I learned a lot from musicians around in the environment that I was always in. I was always around a lot of very talented and experienced musicians. I was always picking up different things from everybody, kind of practicing it and trying to learn as much as I could. That is a little bit of the history my musical upbringing.

I moved to Los Angeles about eight years ago. I think that was a pivotal point in my musical growth. Anybody who knows about Los Angeles—it is a mecca of the entertainment industry. Immediately moving to L.A. I was connected with some very, very talented and driven musicians.  I started to working and performing with them. It really helped me to elevate the level of my musicianship and composition and playing. I think L.A. again has an important role in my musical development .

Why a blue violin?

I have about six violins. I have a traditional classical violin, which is cherry red; that one I use specifically for recording or practicing or certain types of sounds I want. I have a series of different types of electric violins. Playing with a live band or playing with amplified music, the violin gets drained out and disappears in the sound. I actually saw a country violinist, when I was 13 or 14, with a blue electric violin. I went crazy, “I need one of those, I want one.” He gave me the information where I could get one. So that blue violin is actually my first electric violin, which I purchased when I was 14. I’ve had it ever since then. I love it. I have several, but that is the one I’m most comfortable with. I also think people remember. People will always remember the blue violin. It stands out and catches the eye.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?

Not really. I am not a very ritualistic kind of guy. I really try just run over the song list and envision the set list of songs I’m going to do. Visualize a little bit of my performance, how I’m going to perform, my presence. I try to warm up, practice a little, get the jitters out a little, feel comfortable with my instrument. That is pretty much it. I don’t have anything crazy I do.

I can hear the cultural influences in your music. But how do you explain that to people who don’t know what bossa nova is or other different musical styles you incorporate. Your music can fit into multiple categories. How do you explain your music?

That is the thing: I really try not to explain. I try to get the listener hear it and get their own experience from it because there are so many subtle rhythms and influences that happen inside the music that if you are not aware of them, you are not even going to register. I think that more important than defining the music and trying to tell people what it is, is having them feel it. The connection of rhythm and song and music in general is that it is universal and that everyone can connect to it. So I really try to be like, “You just have to hear it.” I can give you a list of influences, where the things come from and where they go.  But if you’re not educated or aware of those styles, it is not going to mean anything. I think that what is more important is the message of the lyrics of the songs and how they make you feel.

The feeling that a song and music has, it permeates anyone regardless of their understanding of music or understanding of language. I try to focus on the feeling and intentions behind the music and rhythms.  As opposed to trying to explain it or make it relatable to most people. I find that when you explain something that is foreign to them, it closes people’s walls. If you just play it, they immediately take to it and understand it. That is the only thing I am always trying to tell people, because that is the first thing they ask, “What does it sound like? What kind of style is it?” I feel that is so limiting, so putting inside a box.

That is something very westernized in our way of thought. “What tribe are you? Where are you from? What language do you speak?” Anybody who knows anything about history knows that we are all mixed. Everything comes from everywhere. We are mixed together. So I try to find common ground, especially with the music.

What projects are you working on?

I have a new branded album that we just finished recording and mastering and that I’m going to start releasing hopefully this fall, if I get everything together. But if not, it might be at the end of the year or next year. That album is called American Import. I feel like that title is something that kind of defines who I am. I’m a Native American and American-born citizen, but I’m also a world traveler. I have been all around the world. I have Brazilian heritage and have been to Brazil many times.

I feel more a world citizen than American, but I am very American in my perspectives and in my cultural upbringing. I was born and raised here. So I think what I bring in this album is something very familiar. I am touching a lot of American folk, rock, and blues influences, along with rhythms from northeastern Brazil and [elsewhere in] Latin America and things like that. I am importing something that is American and familiar to everyone, but it has that little taste of something exotic. That is [what’s behind] the name of my next album, American Import.

Thank you for the interview.

No problem. Thank you. 

—Maria E. Renteria, NMAI

Maria Esmeralda Renteria is an intern with the National Museum of the American Indian’s Office of Public Affairs. She is pursuing an MA in Museum Studies from the San Francisco State University and received her BA in both Latin American Studies and Spanish at UCLA. 

Comments (1)

    » Post a Comment

To the author of this site, do you know if Quetzal Guerrero and Leo Costa would be open for an interview? I greatly enjoyed this articles and Guerrero offered me an insight into music from a different perspective I have seen before. They could in return gain some new exposure to my audience and share knowledge on my site.

August 02, 2013

Ozomatli, gods of dance (music): On the band's name, a theme song for this museum, and other great ideas

Ozomatli, a two-time Grammy Award–winning band known for the musical mixing of Latin, hip hop, funk, reggae, jazz, rap, and other genres, visited the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian as part of the museum’s 2013 Living Earth Festival. The Los Angeles–based group played the headline performance at the festival’s Indian Summer Showcase concert Saturday night, July 20. If you missed the concert, or if you were there and want to relive it, video is available on the museum's YouTube channel.

NMAI caught up with Ulises (Uli) Bella, saxophone, clarinet, requinto jarocho, keyboard, and melodica player, and one of the founding members of Ozomatli.

  Ozomatli
Ozomatli in the Potomac Atrium of the National Museum of the American Indian. From left to right: Ulises Bella, Asdru Sierra, Raúl "El Bully" Pacheco, and Wil-Dog Abers; not shown: Justin "El Niño Porée, Jiro Yamaguchi, Walter Valdez. Washington, D.C., July 20, 2013. 


Ozomatli
is a Nahuatl word for monkey. Who actually thought of it, or was it collaborative effort?

When we first started we were called Todos somos Marcos [we are all Marcos], in honor of the Zapatista Movement in Mexico. But then our drummer [Anton Morales] said, “Yo, we should call ourselves Ozomatli.” We were, “What’s that all that about?” He’s like, “It’s a monkey on the Aztec calendar, the god of dance.” We were, “Wow, that is really, really hip.” He’s like, “The new harvest, the orchestrator of the jungle. . . .” Little did we know that it was his astrological sign the whole time. He basically named the band after himself. That is Anton from L.A. A big shout-out to Anton! We stuck with it. I don’t know too many bands that have a prehispanic name. It’s pretty crazy.

Do you have any pre-show rituals to pump you up?

Not really. People are pretty mellow in this band. We’ve been a band now for 18 years, so we don’t do too crazy, except we drink a lot of coffee usually and just start pumping ourselves up.  Most of our shows are pretty high energy. So you catch a sweat, no manner what. 

How did you start your own coffee?

We had this collaboration with a friend of ours who runs a coffee shop in L.A. called Zona Rosa. He does his own beans. One day he was like, “Yo, I want to do Ozomatli coffee, do an espresso thing.” I was like, “Oh yeah, yeah, let’s.” We are coffee-heads, so it worked out really well. Even though it’s kind of a small thing we do on the side, it’s really fun.

Ozomatli Ulises
Ozomatli at the National Museum of the American Indian. Foreground: Uli Bella; background, Walter Valdez on drums.
I know that you’re the go-to band for theme songs, since you did the Los Angeles Dodgers’ song. If you could assign a theme song for this museum, what would it be from your music?

Wow, it’s pretty heavy because you’re going to think, historically, what Natives or Americans Indians have gone through in their history. It would have to be a song that really resonates super, super, super deep, I think. To even try to grasp the magnitude of all the complex, complex issues that deal with that community.

So, if I was going to say one, just because it’s uplifting, beautiful, and hopeful, because that’s what I think the community needs, “Ya viene el sol,” which means, “Here comes the sun.” It’s all about seeing the sun come up. Obviously, the sun means so much to so many people around the world, such a heavy thing. Bringer of life. At the same time, the idea that tomorrow is going to be a better day through unity and helping each other out.

What projects are you currently working on?

We actually are recording an album. We just finished a kids’ album this last year. Now we are doing a full-length album this year.

Is there a particular reason why you did a kids’ album?

Part of it is because we realize that a lot of our fans are having kids. I think it was just a fun idea to try out. It ended being real liberating, because not all the songs have to be about heavy things. It could be about skateboarding, germs, and washing your hands.

Thank you so much for the interview.

Thank you.

—Maria E. Renteria, NMAI

Photos by Maria E. Renteria, NMAI

Maria Esmeralda Renteria is an intern with the National Museum of the American Indian’s Office of Public Affairs. She is pursuing an MA in Museum Studies from the San Francisco State University and received her BA in both Latin American Studies and Spanish at UCLA. 

Comments (13)

    » Post a Comment

LOVE!! the Dodgers theme song!! Had no idea Ozomatli were responsible for it..... and the Dodgers run from worst to first. ha!!
Like they say, you learn something new every day....

thanks again,
Lou

Amazing songs and music. You are always rocking. Really pleasant musics everybody loves it.

Great interview. I'm not real familiar with Ozomatti, but it sounds like they're a very unique and interesting group. The combination of instruments in their group is great, I love to see something different than your standard "play this guitar, those drums, and this guy will sing" kind of bands. Thanks for sharing

Great interview.

amazing group! love it..

Incredible music, never heard of Ozomatti until the other day, phenomenal sound! It has a certain... Ayahuascan quality to it. You might enjoy this... https://soundcloud.com/escape-by-night/ashesanddust - whenever I hear it, I imagine native American Indians for some reason, even though the instrumentation is a larger blend of world styles. Keep up the awesome work, guys.

Jake—We hear what you mean, especially when what could be an Andean flute enters the music a little less than two minutes in. Thanks for sharing that.

Awesome, really like their music as it's so unique.

Incredible music, music for life, colorful.

nice post i like music very much.

Amazing songs and music. You are always rocking.

Great article and helpful.

Thank you for this news article.

I'm not familiar with the Ozomatli band but your article made me looked for their music on Youtube.com and they blew me away. I love their music.

I have a small online coffee related business, and to know that this cool band also have a coffee named after them ... wow!

Regards,
Andrew

July 18, 2013

The 2013 Living Earth Festival—Friday, July 19, through Sunday, July 21

LEFestLogo2013The Living Earth Festival, a signature event of the National Museum of the American Indian, will take place this weekend, July 19 through 21. This annual festival celebrates indigenous contributions to environmental sustainability, knowledge, and activism. For a full listing of events, please see the online calendar or downloadable festival brochure. Here are some highlights for visitors of all ages and many different interests.

What activities can families do together? Adults and children in particular are invited to: 

Lisan wins at Santa Fe 2012 cor
Lisan Tiger Blair with the work that won him 1st place in youth sculpture at the 91st Santa Fe Indian Art Market, August 2012; photo by Dana Tiger, courtesy of the artist.
  • Help release lady bugs into the NMAI garden (outside the museum's South Entrance along Maryland Avenue) at 10 AM Friday.
  • Participate in a sculpting workshop led by award-winning young artist Lisan Tiger Blair (Mvskoke Creek) in the imagiNATIONS Activity Center. There are workshops several times each day. Please pick up free timed-entry tickets in advance at the Activity Center.
  • Join Victoria Mitchell (Cherokee Nation) for a pottery demonstration.
  • See amazing beadwork made by Peggy Fontenot (Potawatomi).
  • Enjoy an outdoor cooking demonstration by Patricia Alexander (Pawnee/Creek) or a cheesemaking demonstration by Nancy Coonridge of Pietown, New Mexico.

 

20100806_01a_eba_ps_002Farmers market and green-chile roasting, NMAI photo.

For organic gardeners, locavores, gourmet cooks, and just plain food-lovers: During the festival, representatives of tribally owned food cooperatives discuss sustainability, and local famers offer produce, meat, and traditional American Indian foods in an outdoor farmers market. The festival begins for foodies Friday morning at 10 AM with the opening of the farmer’s market and a green-chile roasting (both outdoors in the Welcome Plaza throughout the festival). Demonstrations of traditional Native dishes, including venison stew, corn soup, and grape dumplings (outdoors in the Akaloa Firepit), begin Friday at 1 PM and continue all weekend. Sunday from 1:30 to 4:30 PM, Native chefs Freddie Bitsoie (Navajo) and Don McClellan (Cherokee) will compete in an Iron Chef-style cook off (outdoors in the Welcome Plaza). 

05_20.23211514_crop Don McClellan crop

Chefs Freddie Bitsoie (Navajo) and Don McClellan (Cherokee); photos courtesy of the chefs.


What would a Native festival be without music and dancing?
Live performances begin Friday at 1 PM with the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Drum and Dance Troupe. Hawaiian music and dance by Halau Ho'omau I ka Wai Ola O Hawai'i follows at 2 PM, and at 3:30, traditional Marimba music by Pequeña Marimba Internacional. 

Saturday afternoon singer and violinist Quetzal Guerrero (noon), contemporary Six Nations rocker Shawnee Talbot, aka She KIng (12:30 PM), and the LA fusion band Ozomatli (2 PM) join the roster of performers. Saturday evening at 5 PM, the three groups will present a longer concert as part of the museum's series Indian Summer Showcase. All music and dance performances take place in the air-conditioned Potomac Atrium.

 

Quetzal Guerrero miniShe King mini   

Ozomatli

Clockwise from upper left: Quetzal Guerrero; photo courtesy of the artist. She King; photo courtesy of the artist.Ozomatl; photo copyright 2012 Christian Lantry.


Are you looking for a Friday evening program? The film series Dinner and a Movie offers cuisine from our Zagat-rated Mitsitam Café, available for purchase from 5 to 6:30 PM, followed by the movie Watershed, showing from 7 to 8:30 PM in the museum's Rasmuson Theater. Watershed highlights people who live and work in the Colorado River Basin, including Jeff Ehlert, a fly fishing guide in Rocky Mountain National Park, and Navajo Council member Glojean Todacheene. These people convey their new water ethic by sharing stories that answer the question, How do we balance the competing interests of cities, agriculture, recreation, wildlife, and indigenous communities all with rights to water? 

Colorado-River-from-Nankoweap-in-Marble-Cnyn-NPS_M.-Quinn-hi-res
The Colorado River from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon; photo by Michael Quinn, National Park Service.


At the heart of the festival each year is the Living Earth Symposium. For 2013, the symposium presents Tribal ecoAmbassadors Saturday July 20, from 2:30 to 4 PM, join us in the Rasmuson Theater to hear Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scientists, tribal college and university professors, and Native students describe how Native communities and individuals are developing innovative and locally relevant solutions to protect the environment and public health. Presenters include EcoAmbassadors from the Navajo Nation and the Tohono O’odham Nation who will address grassroots efforts to reduce carbon on their reservations and provide housing in their local communities.

EcoAmbassador David Stone sharp
ecoAmbassador David Stone and students from Tohono O’odham Community College take a break on a bench made entirely on carbon-negative materials; photo courtesy of the EPA.

The symposium and several other events throughout the weekend will be webcast live on the museum's website. A complete schedule of webcasts from the festival, as well as events on the webcast calendar for later this summer, is available in a separate blog post.

All programs and activities are free and open to the public. As noted above, free timed-entry tickets to the sculpting workshop with Lisan Tiger Blair are avaiable in the imagiNATIONS Activity Center; it might be wise to begin your visit there. Indian Summer Showcase concerts are always very popular and Saturday's promises to be no exception. Seating in the Potomac Atrium is first come, first served. 

We hope to see you here!

—Dennis Zotigh, NMAI

Comments (17)

    » Post a Comment

I like the work of Shawnee SheKing, Lynn Talbot (Mirror me, This is me etc). I was trying to see if there was a connection in her work with Aboriginal music. It would be great to live close enough to visit the Living Earth Festival to see such energy and creativity. Living in Australia makes it difficult. I enjoy Rap and Hip Hop and I found one of Shawnee's creations sung in that genre. That such energy and creative minds are also involved in protecting the environment, not just here but also in other countries makes me have hope for humankind. I enjoyed reading about the activities planned, with a big sigh at not being able to be there..

In reply to my own comment I listened to Shawnee SheKing singing "She is King" (rap type). I hear drumming connections with Shawnee drumming and the Mohawk drums I have found on the Internet and the sounds made by Iriquois water drums. Of course this could be entirely in my own head. I also loved the haunting sounds of the Mohawk flute music from the smoke dance.

The music was AMAZING! Especially Ozomatl. I was lucky enough to see their first show back in 1995. I collect water drums- have 4 amazing ones and 1 that I am working to restore. Working on training my voice so I can do something similar like Ozomatl.

@William have you heard of a native american band called Apu?

I recently watched them whilst they were on tour of the UK the music they create is fantastic!

Many thanks
Karl

I must say - THIS WAS GREAT!
the world is so small, i watched them too on their uk tour!

really amazing and interesting!

Nice work! Keep going!

keep up the good work guys.... amazing....

The music was AMAZING! Especially Ozomatl. I was lucky enough to see their first show back in 1995. I collect water drums- have 4 amazing ones and 1 that I am working to restore. Working on training my voice so I can do something similar like Ozomatl.

I recently watched them whilst they were on tour of the UK the music they create is fantastic!

Many thanks

I collect water drums- have 4 amazing ones and 1 that I am working to restore.

Great guys! Keep on working :)

Amazing work! Keep going

really it is very interesting and amazing.thank you and good luck

good work keep it up.

Thank You for Sharing Valuable Information.i like this blog and this is very informative.

Really it is a great idea. Thanks for sharing.

July 17, 2013

2013 Living Earth Festival headlines the museum's summer webcast season


The National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C., museum is hosting many excellent public programs this summer for audiences of all ages and a wide range of interests. Here is a schedule of upcoming programs available on the Internet via webcast. 

Live webcasts can be accessed though the NMAI webcast page.

Not free during a program you'd like to see? Wish you had seen an earlier program? Most webcasts are archived on the NMAI YouTube Channel within a few days of the event.

Please note: Times for live performances and webcasts are given as Eastern Daylight Time.

LEFestLogo2013mini
2013 LIVING EARTH FESTIVAL 
July 19 through 21

The museum’s annual Living Earth Festival celebrates Native contributions to protecting the environment, promoting sustainability, and using indigenous plants to improve health and nutrition. Such a celebration entails much fun with art, music, dance, and cooking, as well as reports from Indian County on how Native peoples are developing solutions to protect public health and the environment.

On Friday, July 19, at 1 pm and 2 pm, the museum will webcast a fun hands-on activity for children of all ages from the imagiNATIONS Activity Center.  Muscogee Creek sculptor Lisan Tiger Blair will lead a workshop in creating animal and human forms from clay and other materials.

Saturday, July 20, will be filled with music and dance. Enjoy these performances and mini-concerts broadcast from the Potomac Atrium:

11:15 AM | Ho`omau I Ka Wai Ola O Hawai`i, Hawaiian music and dance

Noon | Quetzal Guerrero, virtuoso violin and vocals

12:30 PM | She King (Six Nations Reserve), contemporary rock out of Toronto

1 PM | Pokagon Drum and Dance Troupe (Potawatomi), traditional and fancy dancing performed at many powwows throughout the United States

2 PM | Ozomatli, urban–Latin fusion from Los Angeles

 

Studying biotoxins in fish 07-16
Tribal ecoAmbassadors at work: A Northwest Indian College project studying biotoxins in fish. Photo courtesy of the EPA


Saturday from 2:30 to 4 PM
, the webcast will move to the Rasmuson Theater to present the Living Earth Symposium: Tribal ecoAmbassadors.  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scientists, tribal college and university professors, and Native students are conducting projects that help community residents become part of an environmentally conscious future. Learn how these Tribal ecoAmbassadors are developing innovative and locally relevant solutions to protect public healthand the environment—from creating carbon-negative and sustainable building materials to participatory air quality monitoring to exploring the impacts mercury and other toxics have on human health. 

Saturday from 5 to 8 PM,  the day concludes with an Indian Summer Showcase of musical concerts. If your musical appetite was whetted by the day's mini-concerts, be sure to tune in for the artists' feature performances. Quetzal Guerrero's music bridges many Latin and American cultures and styles. Pop artist She King from Six Nations Reserve captivates listeners with her power, passion, and seducing vocals. Ozomatli, a two-time Grammy Award–winning band, describes its sound as "urban-Latino-and-beyond collision of hip hop and salsa, dancehall and cumbia, samba and funk, merengue and comparsa, East LA R&B and New Orleans second line, Jamaican ragga and Indian raga."  

Quetzal Guerrero mini She King mini  

 

 

Ozomatli

Clockwise from upper left: Quetzal Guerrero; photo courtesy of the artist. She King; photo courtesy of the artist. Ozomatl; photo copyright 2012 Christian Lantry; used with permission.


On Sunday, July 21, from noon to 4:30 PM, the museum will webcast the Living Earth Festival’s iconic cooking face-off, Native Chef Cooking Competition. This year the competition puts the heat on Don McClellan (Cherokee) and Freddie Bitsoie (Navajo) as they cook up their gourmet entrées for the title of NMAI’s Top Chef. Like the menu of the museum’s Mitsitam Café, the chefs’ innovative recipes will be inspired by traditional Native American foods. 


INDIAN SUMMER SHOWCASE 
August 10 & September 21

Every summer the museum brings talented performers to the National Mall for free, public concerts. We webcast as many of these great evenings as we can. In addition to the triple-header during the Living Earth Festival mentioned above, the museum has two more concerts/concert webcasts coming up.

Rita_cooligde_flat mini+ C.J. Chenier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Rita Coolidge (left) and C.J. Chenier. Photos courtesy of the artists

On Saturday, August 10, at 5 PM, the legendary, multiple Grammy Award–winning singer Rita Coolidge (Cherokee) will perform some of her classic hits from the 1970s and '80s, as well as newer pieces.  

On Saturday, September 21, at 5 PM, just see if you can stay off your dancing feet as C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band perform their infectious Zydeco music. The band received a 2011 Grammy nomination for their album Can’t Sit Down


STORYTELLING FROM THE  imagiNATIONS ACTIVITY CENTER 
August 2, August 9 & September 21

The imagiNATIONS Activity Center is the museum’s space dedicated to interactive exhibits and fun activities for children of all ages. In addition to webcasting the sculpting workshop during the Living Earth Festival mentioned above, the museum will be bringing three talented Native storytellers to our webcast audience in the next few months.  


Mokihana Traditional Hula mini Gayle-ross tall

Mokihana (left) and Gail Ross. Photos courtesy of the artists

On Friday, August 2, at 11 AM and 1 PM, Mokihana (Missy Scalph), a graduate of Halau Mohala `Ilima, a traditional hula school in Kailua, Hawai`i, will share traditional hula, songs, and stories in an interactive program created to entertain and educate visitors about Native Hawaiian culture.  

On Friday, August 9, at 1 PM and 3 PM, the museum invites you to spend some time with Gail Ross, a direct descendent of John Ross, who was Principal Chief of the Cherokee during the Trail of Tears. Gail is the author of five critically acclaimed children’s books, a distinguished lecturer, and a master of the age-old art of storytelling. Traditional Cherokee stories will be the focus of these programs. 

Grayhawk Perkins 2On Saturday, September 21, at 11 AM, Grayhawk Perkins (Choctaw/Houma), the well-known Louisiana educator, musician, and expert on Native American and Colonial American history, will take on his role as a “tribal storyteller” and share tales of ancient cultures. 

Grayhawk Perkins.
Photo courtesy of the artist

 


SYMPOSIUM: REVEALING ANCESTRAL AMERICA
September 8 

6-1259
Ulúa River vessel depicting dancers (rollout detail), AD 750–850. Honduras. 6/1259

On Sunday, September 8, from 10:30 AM to 4:15 PM, the museum will present Revealing Ancestral Central America, a symposium co-sponsored by NMAI and the Smithsonian Latino Center. The symposium features leading voices in the interpretation of Central America’s rich cultural heritage as revealed in the archeaology of the region. The exhibitionCerámica de los Ancestros: Central America’s Past Revealed is on view at the National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C., through February 1, 2015.

 

Disappointed to Miss a Program?

The museum archives most webcasts within a few days of the live event. If you have to miss one of these programs and would like to view it later, look for it on the NMAI YouTube Channel. Programs archived recently include Wahzhazhe: An Osage Balletperformed on March 23; six programs from the 7th Annual Hawai`i Festival, celebrated May 25 and 26; and 13 programs from Choctaw Days 2013, a cultural festival that took place at the museum on June 21. 

—Mark Christal, NMAI

Comments (2)

    » Post a Comment

Nice blog and pics shared by you. It may be helpful.

Great Post you have in here nice to know all of this! more blogs to come keep up!

July 09, 2013

Native Sounds Downtown! Derek Miller (Thursday, August 1) and Rita Coolidge (Thursday, August 8) rock the museum in New York

 

Derek Miller 2 Rita Coolidge

Derek Miller (left) and Rita Coolidge. Photos courtesy of the artists


Derek Miller (Mohawk) and Rita Coolidge (Cherokee) will rock the stage this August at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York. 

Songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist Derek Miller, known for his amazing live performances and expressive lyrics, will perform on Thursday, August 1, at 6 PM in the Diker Pavilion of the National Museum of the American Indian in New York. Later this season, the museum will publish a CD of Derek Miller singing hits featured in the exhibition Up Where We Belong: Native Musicians in Popular Culture. He will perform these songs along with his own music during the August 1 concert. 

Born and raised in the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation in Ontario, Canada, Miller developed an interest in music during his early teenage years. His albums include Music Is the Medicine (2002), The Dirty Looks (2006), and Derek Miller with Double Trouble (2010). Miller has twice won the Juno Award for Best Aboriginal Recording of the Year, for his hit singles “Lovesick Blues” and “The Dirty Looks.” He performed with Eva Avila and Nikki Yanofsky at the closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Grammy Award–winning artist Rita Coolidge will perform on Thursday, August 8, at 6 PM in the same venue—Diker Pavilion of the National Museum of the American Indian in New York.

Coolidge was born in Lafayette, Tennessee. She got her start as a professional musician recording station identifications and commercial jingles for radio stations in Memphis. She went on to sing backup vocals for rock greats, including Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Leon Russell, Graham Nash, and Duane Allman. Her duets with country singer Kris Kristofferson gained nationwide attention. Coolidge and Kristofferson twice won Grammy Awards for Best Country Vocal by a Duo or Group, for their hit single “From the Bottle to the Bottom” (1974) and “Lover Please” (1976). Coolidge’s solo album Anytime…Anywhere (1977) went platinum, selling over a million copies. Her single “All Time High” was the theme song for the James Bond movie Octopussy (1983).

In 1995, Coolidge teamed up with her sister Priscilla Coolidge and her niece Laura Satterfield to create the group Walela, which means hummingbird in Cherokee. Walela gave Coolidge an opportunity to foreground her Cherokee heritage in the lyrics of her songs, and the group released four albums, including Walela (1997) and Unbearable Love (2000). Coolidge has released 28 albums during her career. Her most recent solo album is A Rita Coolidge Christmas (2012). 

—Grant Moffitt, NMAI

To add Native Sounds Downtown 2013 directly to your digital calendar, visit the links below:

Derek Miller, Thursday, August 1, 6 PM

Rita Coolidge, Thursday, August 8, at 6 PM 

Grant Moffitt, a native of Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, is a Marketing & Community Outreach intern at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York. He works for the Museum Advancement group, on Public Affairs and Visitor Services projects. His internship is funded by Pace University, Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship. Grant is pursuing a BA in Marketing with a concentration in advertising and promotion from Pace.

The National Museum of the American Indian in New York  

Comments (3)

    » Post a Comment

A longtime fan of Rita Coolidge bought her albums in the 70s when she was a solo act... Would love to see her again...

wow very nice will Derek Miller (Mohawk) and Rita Coolidge (Cherokee) will rock the stage this August at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York. so awesome

Very Good