Saturday, 28 May 2011

Micki Free, the Hard Rock Café, and the Future of Native American Music

The tribes of Native America were making music on the North American continent for centuries before the Europeans arrived. The drumming of pow wow music was considered the heartbeat of the nation, a deep pulsating sound often parodied in cowboy films. Like many marginalized cultures, Native Americans developed their own style of music, often incorporating the sounds of blues, European folk, classical music, and more recently, rock ‘n’ roll. Like African American music before the advent of phonograph records, the sounds of Native America were developed outside the attention of mainstream American culture, with notable exceptions. Buffy Sainte-Marie, Robbie Robertson, R. Carlos Nakai, Grammy-winner Rita Coolidge, spoken-word artist John Trudell, and jazzman Jim Pepper have all broken through, but despite the initiation of a Native American Grammy category in 2000, most Native American artists—rockers, rappers, reggae singers—receive little attention from the music industry.

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