December 01, 2014

RUMBLE: A Sneak Peek into the Upcoming Music Documentary


Behind the scenes during the production of RUMBLE, Rezolution Pictures films an interview with singer Tony Bennett at his studio in New York.

RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World
 a feature-length documentary film about the Native American contribution to popular music, will premiere at Sundance in 2016. Made by Rezolution Pictures—creators of the Peabody Award–winning documentary Reel InjunRUMBLE will tell the story of a profound, essential and, until now, missing chapter in the history of American music. These photos give a look into some of the recent interviews being filmed with music icons talking about who some of their largest Native individual influences are.

Musician and actor Steven Van Zandt at Renegade Studios in New York City.

RUMBLE springs from a partnership between guitarist Stevie Salas (Mescalero Apache) and Tim Johnson (Mohawk), associate director for museum programs at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., and New York, while putting together the wildly popular exhibition Up Where We Belong: Native Musicians In Popular Culture

Tony Bennett and Catherine Bainbridge, a writer, director, and producer of RUMBLE.

Up Where We Belong—which was on view at the museum in Washington, D.C., from July 1, 2010, to January 2, 2011, and in New York City from August 4, 2012, to August 11, 2013—celebrated the fact that, for nearly a century, Native people have had successful and influential careers in virtually every form of popular music. The exhibition told these musicians' stories and histories and provided visitors the opportunity to hear music and discover artists with whom these exceptional musicians collaborated. Visitors also learned of the musical greats who inspired these artists, as well as the growing number of contemporary performers who follow in their path.  

Tony Bennett on camera for RUMBLE.

“Whether they basked in the limelight or played supporting roles, Native musicians have made an enormous contribution to American music as we know it today,” says Kevin Gover (Pawnee), director of the museum. They forged new sounds, worked with some of the greatest names in the music industry and inspired current Native and non-Native performers who continue to build on their legacy, and we are proud to honor them.”

RUMBLE focuses in particular on the last 50 years of this cultural history. In Rezolution Picture's description, "Starting with the birth of rock and roll and following through to the present day pop, RUMBLE will take moviegoers on a personal tour through musical eras and themes, giving them a new understanding of these Native musical pioneers, while showing the history of contemporary music in a whole new light." 


All photos by Tim Johnson (Mohawk), NMAI, taken during interviews for the documentary film RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World

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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  

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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

July 31, 2012

Julia Keefe Shines

5. Julia_keefe_red

Nez Perce jazz vocalist Julia Keefe. Photo courtesy of the artist.

By Tim Johnson

When the exhibit Up Where We Belong: Native Musicians In Popular Culture was conceptualized there were two main messages we wanted to convey. The first is that American Indians have been and remain significant participants in the development of contemporary music, shaping and scoring (in some cases literally) the soundtracks of our lives. From Mildred Rinker Bailey, the Coeur d’Alene vocalist who reigned during the golden age of radio in the 1930s and ’40s; to Link Wray, the Shawnee innovator of the power chord, distortion, and the hardcore instrumental Rumble; to Taboo, the Shoshone and Mexican Grammy award-winning, platinum-selling member of the Black Eyed Peas, Native musicians have not only made an impact, but have become important figures in American music history.

The second key message of the exhibit, supported by the museum’s associated contemporary music programming, is that the American Indian music scene is broad, diverse, and growing. It includes phenomenal blues and rock bands, folk singers, hip hop artists, country music stars, and several remarkable rising talents worthy of recognition, like Nez Perce jazz vocalist Julia Keefe.

4. julia_outside
Julia Keefe returns to the National Museum of the American Indian—this time in New York for our Native Sounds Downtown concert series Thursday, August 2,
at 4 PM. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Julia first came to my attention when my programs staff scheduled her to perform at our museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in 2009 during Jazz Appreciation Month. Accompanied by an eight-member ensemble from Harvard University led by Jerrol Pennerman, Julia regaled the audience with classic jazz numbers, including some of Mildred Bailey’s hit songs. I was struck by this emerging Native artist’s respectful acknowledgement and tribute to Mildred Bailey. By honoring the past and highlighting the achievements of a Native woman who navigated around and broke through racial barriers in the epic ragtime and jazz decades, Julia also brought respect and esteem upon herself. In the selection of her preferred genre through her pursuit of higher education, there is maturity and sophistication in Julia’s approach to her music, her career, and her life.  

Beyond paying tribute to Mildred Bailey by performing her songs, Julia has also embarked upon a campaign to gain formal recognition of Bailey’s achievements and contributions. In an eloquent, well-researched, and compelling letter to Wynton Marsalis and fellow members of the Selection Committee earlier this year, Julia urges that Mildred Bailey be considered for induction into the Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame at Lincoln Center “in recognition of her groundbreaking role in jazz history.”

For the 1994 commemorative stamp set Jazz Singers, Legends of American Music, the U.S. Postal Service chose Mildred Bailey (above), Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, and Jimmy Rushing. Illustration by Howard Koslow, courtesy of the USPS.

The letter draws attention to many of Bailey’s accomplishments, including her role in Bing Crosby’s career; her emergence as the first female big band singer in America; her influence upon her contemporaries including Billie Holiday, Helen Ward, and Ella Fitzgerald; and the importance of joining her story of success to the stories of other prominent Native women who “rose above the challenges they faced and helped to change history.” Julia writes, “Recognition of Mildred Bailey in the Jazz Hall of Fame would, I believe, open a door to a largely neglected and ignored chapter in the history of this all-American art form known as jazz: the involvement of First Americans.” 

As a conceptual author of the exhibit Up Where We Belong: Native Musicians In Popular Culture, I couldn’t agree more. Mildred Bailey and all of the artists featured in the show, some well known and others not so well known, deserve the nation’s recognition and respect. In ways both fitting and unintentional, but born out of intelligence, right-mindedness, and I suspect exceptional parenting, Julia has also, in my perspective, earned our attention and admiration. In addition to her well-arranged and finely crafted performances honed in collaboration with other exceptional musicians, Julia has skillfully blended her culture and community-based life experience from her years spent in the town of Kamiah on the Nez Perce Reservation with her formal education at the University of Miami’s prestigious Frost School of Music. Julia has already signaled that she intends to live a life of purpose that combines meaningful pursuits with the joy her music brings both to her and to others.

It is therefore fitting that Julia Keefe will be kicking off our Native Sounds Downtown concert series celebrating the opening of Up Where We Belong: Native Musicians In Popular Culture at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York. Her performance begins at 4 PM on Thursday August 2 in front of the main steps of NMAI–NY at the historic Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, located between Bowling Green Park and Battery Park in lower Manhattan. Should it rain the concert will be held inside the museum. I encourage everyone in the area to attend the concert. For those who live too far to travel, view the concert’s live stream on our museum’s website. Julia will be followed by Grammy-winning musician Bill Miller (Mohican) and singer, songwriter, and human-rights activist Martha Redbone (of Choctaw/Cherokee heritage).

Tim Johnson (Mohawk) is Associate Director for Museum Programs at the National Museum of the American Indian.

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By Julia Rinker-Miller

As someone never interested in blogging, I feel I finally have something to blog about. So here I go ...

My name is Julia Rinker-Miller. I'm the niece of Mildred Rinker Bailey and the daughter of Al Rinker - boyhood chum of Bing Crosby who, together in an old Model-T Ford, traveled down from Spokane to Los Angeles in the twenties (staying with Aunt Milly who was singing in speakeasies) to seek their fortunes in show business.

Essentially and - eventually - Milly became "Mildred Bailey," my dad became an inspired composer of pop music and hauntingly lovely semi-classic works set to poems of famous poets like Robert Louis Stevenson and Robert Burns ... and we all know what became of Bing!

As a 2nd generation "Rinker" singer, who's carved out a sustaining, most gratifying career "behind the scenes" as a Studio Singer in the recording, television and film industries of NY and LA during these last several decades ... I've worked with the best-of-the-best in the biz - giving me the confidence to have an opinion or two about what makes for good music and about who's making it.

After years of being "on the inside" of my aunt's life, that includes my start as a singer in the sixties working in the studios with some of the same great musicians who'd worked with Mildred in bands and on recordings from the late twenties through the forties (their stories of her shared with me were epic) ... it wasn't until the last few years, when introduced to young Julia Keefe, her music and "her" story - that I was given a whole new glimpse of my aunt "from the outside."

What I knew of my father's and his Rinker siblings' (one girl, four boys; one died at 18 months) earliest life on the Coeur d'Alene Reservation in Idaho - was reverently cocooned within the folds of my father's memory. Because that was the realm where he'd first been exposed to the magic and mystery of music through his boogie-woogie/ragtime/classical-playing, piano prodigy of a Native mother, no period in his life was ever spoken of with more love or longing. And because his mother died from TB when he was only eight (Mildred was 14) after they'd moved away to Spokane - when the umbilical cord to his Native roots was prematurely severed - I intuited my dad in a state of subtle, subliminal grief the whole of my life with him. Did my aunt share that same sense of loss? I was too young to have that conversation with her when she died in 1951, but can only speculate from the undercurrent of my family dynamic and from her numerous quotes in newspaper and magazine articles, record liner-notes, books and family letters - that she did.

To sense the presence of a lingering energy in search of its homeland can beget a poignant, disconcerting and gnawing feeling of responsibility inside those sensitive to their loved ones. And so it's been with me concerning my father and his family for as long as I can remember. But it wasn't until being given the gift of perceiving Mildred Bailey through the eyes of another young native girl, Julia Keefe, 3 or so years ago, that a light bulb went on allowing me to step in - with conscious conviction - as surrogate healer (if you will) on behalf of my father, aunt, their siblings, my grandma and the whole of my grandmother's family - fully recognizing who they are, who they've always been, where they've come from .. and "bring them home" in real time.

A month ago I experienced a moment that will remain forever glowing in my being. On July 1st, I flew up to Spokane, staying with Julia Keefe and her family, to join them the following day at a luncheon on the Coeur d'Alene Reservation where the Tribal Council, Governor "Butch" Otter of Idaho and several state legislators were in attendance to ceremoniously honor my aunt after the passing of the "Mildred Rinker Bailey Resolution" this last March in Idaho's Capital. In essence, the bill recognizes my Aunt Mildred as a significant daughter of Idaho and the Coeur d'Alene Tribe for her contributions to American Jazz. And suddenly, as at the end of a rainbow, I was being given a golden opportunity to empty my heart to my grandmother's people on behalf of my father, aunt and family ... reopening old channels and completing new circuitries of love.

At the end of the luncheon I heard Julia (the lovely Nez Perce girl responsible for catalyzing the call for legislation last Christmas when the Coeur d'Alene Tribal Council and local Representatives from Idaho's Legislature first saw and heard her "Mildred" program in this same room) sing live for the very first time. And all I found myself "reporting" within was: "Oh Aunt Milly ... she's good ... she's really good!!!" And that's one reason I'm blogging.

As I said, I feel I know good when I hear it. I've had artists like Crosby, Sinatra and Clooney come up to me on television shows, record dates or during social gatherings wanting me to know that my aunt had greatly influenced their phrasing and singing. And how good were these artists! My aunt was an original, joyous, authentic channel for music-in-the-becoming. And it appears that much of that music became Jazz as we know it. I grew up never questioning the default, catch-all conclusion that Mildred Bailey was a "white" singer. Again, I was too young to hear from her directly how being Native American affected her as a girl. I can only report - first hand from my father - that he'd suffered being called "breed" as a child and that it scarred him emotionally. Such potent damage of the psyche could possibly explain his having to unknowingly send the "Native" in him underground where it never ceased beckoning through his emotions.

Although obviously more at peace with her Native heritage (corroborated in quotes I've recently read of hers) because she was older and had support from her mother longer than my dad, perhaps Mildred wasn't fully aware just how much her exposure to Native singing on the reservation influenced her pristine, ego-less phrasing and rhythmic integrity ... because I've never heard of her ever balking at being called the first "white" this or first "white" that!

I see my Aunt Mildred's music in a different light these days. Along with my own experience as a professional "utility" singer who's had to know her vocal instrument well enough to create different vocal sounds for different jobs (singing in whatever bags or musical styles required), I also seem to be running across more and more Mildred quotes where she references American Indian music as having impacted, not only her approach to singing, but her instrument itself.

After much inner mulling, I recently wrote the following to a preeminent jazz journalist acquaintance and am sticking with my take on the matter: "With Indian Singing being a vocalise unto itself, stringing flute-like vowels fluidly and vertically together like a prayer released to heaven ... why has no one made the point that the Native American might have, through Mildred, brought a more personal, internal and reserved musical ethic and structure to jazz that wasn't there in the robust, laterally-expressive pleas of Black gospel-blues! In terms of the dynamics, Mildred seemed more interested in the conversation going on inside herself than in one wanting to be shared with the congregation."

The "Up Where We Belong: Native Musicians in Popular Culture" exhibit at Manhattan's NMAI is a lively, timely testament to the fact that perhaps many lone, far-flying "Native" birds are finally coming home to roost. And while thoroughly in support of Julia Keefe's most righteous point that my Aunt Mildred belongs in the Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame at Lincoln Center (let alone any jazz hall of fame), I'm equally "jazzed" at the idea of the Native Community claiming not just one of its own, but all of its own in a tribute to American Indians who've contributed "greatness'" to our National contemporary musical profile.

In fact, with this very theme in mind, I'm currently preparing to give all I've got in support of a book project on Mildred Bailey soon to be initiated by Chad S. Hamill - American ethnomusicologist and author of "Songs of Power and Prayer in the Columbia Plateau" - where he'll be doing a scholarly and soul-inspired exploration of how Native American Indigenous culture gracefully wove its way through my aunt's musical artistry and into what we call "American Jazz."

While unable to fly in (myself) from California for the 4:00 "kick-off" concert at the opening of Thursday's exhibit ... or to the Ribbon-Cutting/Preview Reception afterwards at 6:00, I have asked my wonderfully talented (in the Rinker tradition) New York-based drummer son, Christopher Markwood (Miller), to represent both mother, great aunt and family in my stead.

Not only do I expect Chris to "report in" that Julia Keefe and her fellow artists on the bill gave brilliant performances, I also anticipate his seeing for himself - through the Native perspective - what all the fuss has been about regarding his Great Aunt Mildred and her contribution to Jazz. Mildred Bailey's great nephew needs to understand that he, too, carries the same genetic potential to bring the Spirit of the Soul to his music ... just as generations and generations of Native Americans before him have done.

May A Great Light Wash Over The Events Of The Day ~

Julia Rinker-Miller
(Niece of Mildred Rinker Bailey)

Congratulations Julia! I think people who has talent must be recognize and support by other people.

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Thanks. the information is very useful

Beautiful lady with a beautiful voice ;)

The power of voice represented by Julia Keefe.

Congrulation julia, your voice is very beautiful, i like your songs

jual jaket kulit

she is dam beautiful love her...........

Julia ? from where is she ? I had never heard about her before this is the first time, so when it's the first time I'm going to look for her in youtube to listen to her songs
with my Love

February 25, 2011

Native Music for the Masses


If there are some visitors that are missing the Up Where We Belong: Native Musicians in Popular Culture exhibition that has left the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. – relief has come in the form of the original playlist of music that was featured on the audio tour, courtesy of

For those of you who are not familiar, Up Where We Belong opened in July 2010 in the Sealaska Gallery on the second level which featured 13 artists that influenced music over the course of a century covering various genres of music. The exhibition also featured an audio tour with excerpts from the curators as well as songs from the featured artists.

So all you have to do now is search your local search engine: “rhapsody nmai” or “music nmai.” Better yet, here is the link:

I had so much fun re-creating the playlist (that has been so well received) so much that I have the privilege, no the pleasure of creating a few more based on the artists and themes. I have so many ideas, so who knows where this will go. So keep coming back and check up on what’s new.

1. Mildred Bailey - Rocking Chair, written by Hoagy Carmichael.
2. Oscar Pettiford – Monti Cello, by Oscar Pettiford.
3. Russell “Big Chief” Moore - Someday, by Louis Armstrong, with Russell Moore, trombone.
4. Johnny Cash - The Ballad of Ira Hayes, written by Peter La Farge.
5. Peter La Farge - Drums, written and performed by Peter La Farge.
6. Link Wray - Rumble, by Link Wray and His Ray-Men. 1958.
7. Rita Coolidge - Higher and Higher, 1972.
8. Walela - Cherokee Morning Song, Written and performed by Walela, (Rita Coolidge, Priscilla Coolidge, and Laura Satterfield.
9. The Band - The Weight, written by Robbie Robertson, performed by The Band, 1968.
10. Robbie Robertson - Ghost Dance, written and performed by Robbie Robertson.
11. Redbone - Wovoka, written and performed by Redbone. 1973.
12. Redbone - Come and Get Your Love, written by Pat and Lolly Vegas. 1974.
13. Jesse Ed Davis - Doctor, My Eyes, by Jackson Browne, with Jesse Ed Davis, lead guitar. 1972.
14. Taj Mahal (featuring Jesse Ed Davis, lead and slide guitar) - Statesboro Blues. 1968.
15. Buffy Sainte-Marie - Universal Soldier.
16. Buffy Sainte-Marie - No No Keshagesh.
17. Randy Castillo - No More Tears, performed by Ozzy Osborne, with Randy Castillo, drums. 1991.
18. Randy Castillo - Tattooed Dancer, Ozzy Osborne, with Randy Castillo, drums. 1989.
19. Stevie Salas - I Once Was There, by Stevie Salas. 1995.
20. Stevie Salas - Tell Your Story Walkin’ by Stevie Salas. 1995.
21. Jimi Hendrix - Voodoo Child (slight return). 1968.
22. Jimi Hendrix - Little Wing.1967.

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Thanks for the track list.

Nice mix of familiar and lesser-known artists & songs in there... Gives me some research to do on some of the artists in the list, always nice to get new ideas for artists and songs!

Site Owner: Jazz Guitar and Vocals

I love Jimi Hendrix's Voodoochild.Now THAT's a classic.

Yes, I agree. I've heard of most of these artists and the tracks you specify. However, I'd not heard of Russell “Big Chief” Moore, Walela or Stevie Salas before. So, like Stan, you've prompted me to do some enjoyable homework getting to know the work of new (to me) artists.

John Murphey

When you love something you have a lot of fun doing it. Quite an interesting mix of musical artist list there.Surprised for me I could only recognise a few there, thumbs up to you.

That's a heck of a list. And definitely some I have not heard of. I always love some new recommendations for music!

Cool list. Some of these songs are new to me but I am going to give them a listen. Thanks

That's a heck of a list. And definitely some I have not heard of. I always love some new recommendations for music!

Great selection of music. I love Jimmy Hendix and the rest is reall cool too. Love the new music.

I am a guitarist myself and Johnny Cash is an inspiration. I have songs of my own on my website.

Great list. Some of them I've never heard of.
Thanks for the list, you should definitely post more list like this!

These songs are great.I am going to listen to all of them for sure .If any one wants to sing in a more professional manner then i recommend visiting How to become a famous singer.It has helped me a lot.

Thanks for the audio track list!

February 04, 2011

Top 5 Visitor Reactions to the "Up Where We Belong" Exhibition


Greetings and salutations. My name is Zandra Wilson, and I am Dine´. I work in the Education Office of the museum as a Cultural Interpreter.

Part of my job includes interacting with visitors as they make their way through the museum’s exhibitions. The six-month run of Up Where We Belong: Native Musicians in Popular Culture made a significant impact on me and inspired me to write this post about my top five visitor reactions.

#5 – Free for all

Just about every day I would walk in and ask if there were any questions. But a lot of the time it would be me experiencing the visitors and the connection they had to the space, and to the music. Just about every day there would be people singing and/or dancing (absolutely no judgment intended). I don’t know what it is about Redbone, but there have been several times where I have seen young children (toddlers) just get down! They would stop what they were doing, hear the song, watch the film, and get in sync with the rhythm and let the music guide them. I’m sure there are parents that have their kids’ puffy Pamper-bottoms recorded on their phones—precious.

#4 – Jimi? Really?

A lot of the comments I received were about Jimi Hendrix’s background. Some visitors have asked why we didn’t have any guitars; some have assumed the reason we have a jacket on display is because the person who made the jacket was Native American. When they read the panels or have conversations with staff, they realize that rather than seeing guitars, it was more iconic, more metaphoric to see the coat of many colors, to see the complexity in Hendrix and in his coat.

#3 – Why is Johnny Cash / Mick Jagger / Ozzy Osbourne / Kris Kristofferson here?  Was that Jimmy Page / The Edge / Jack White?!?

I think this was as effective as the Hendrix coat. People would walk in and see these familiar faces and try to figure out why they are here. They weren’t Native, were they? They are here because they had help or they were influenced by some pretty phenomenal Native people who wrote or created music with them. Peter La Farge, Stevie Salas, Randy Castillo, Link Wray—these names may have been unknown before but not anymore. I never get tired of helping someone discover a musician/ influence/ inspiration.

#2 – Mildred Bailey

There was a multigenerational family of visitors that arrived at the museum and made their way in—the grandfather in a wheelchair, father pushing, and grandson and granddaughter close behind. Each of the kids picked up an audio guide while the grandfather shook his head and declined one. A few minutes later, one of the grandkids returns to the cart and requests another audio device. About thirty minutes later when the family returns the equipment, I ask if they have any questions or comments. The grandfather has a big smile on his face and says, “Mildred Bailey.” As they make their departure toward the elevators, Grandpa is still talking about the Rocking Chair Lady to his grandkids.



#1 – New Fans (Redbone/Link Wray)

I had two incidents where the younger generation found new musicians and songs.

One little girl came with her mother, and they both took an audio guide. They were in the exhibition for a considerable amount of time, but I did manage to see them before I had to leave. The mom was first to turn in her device and say, “My little girl just loves all the music on there, especially one group. . . .” So when the little girls takes off the earphones I ask her if she liked it. Her response was (at the top of her lungs), “I LOVE REDBONE!!!” I tell her, “That’s great!" and add that there was a movie clip of the band playing that song they were listening to.  Her immediate response was, “Where? Mommy let’s see it!” And she runs back into the gallery with her mom not far behind.

The next instance was two young kids who were returning their audio guides, and I asked them how they liked it. They responded with, “Link Wray, he’s our favorite; we played his songs over and over and over and over. . . ”

Up Where We Belong
closed in Washington in January—a bittersweet departure, but we’re happy knowing it will make its way to our sister museum in New York, the George Gustav Heye Center, where the exhibition is scheduled to open in summer 2012. 

—Zandra Wilson (Dine´)


You can explore Native American musicians like Buffy Sainte-Marie and Robbie Robertson here.

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I produced the audio guide and the video and spent a few hours handing out the audio guides in the gallery throughout the run of the exhibition. I had people regularly ask me, "Where's Cher?" but mostly express their appreciation to the museum for putting together the show. The NMAI's Cultural Interpreters and Visitor Services staff are the heart and soul of this museum! Thanks for the post.

I bought the Link Wray CD for my brother for Christmas...he has never heard of him before but he loves to play guitar. He really loved it and he plays if for his son to put him to sleep at night so one day he will grow up to be a rocker like Link!

I have a hard time reading some articles, mostly because they’re dull. You have written an article that I find fascinating and I am glad I read it. I hope you have plans to continue. Greetings,
Joanna, webmaster