Anishinaabeg blues rocker Keith Secola recently released his seventh studio album, Life is Grand, and has written a pop-rock-opera, Seeds, that was seven years in the making. Through both works, Secola is starting to pull a mainstream audience into, what has been, an underground following, and finding ways to stay true to his message along the way.
Winner of seven Native American Music Awards, and 2011 inductee into the Native American Music Hall of Fame, Keith Secola's best known track is NDN Kars. Fans will be glad to hear his new album, Life is Grand, released late 2012, includes an updated punk version of that well loved song, among a list of new tracks.
"I think the new album (Life Is Grand) is going to be the quintessential protest album of 2012, only I have to disguise it, like Dickens' Christmas Carol, " Secola recently told Christina Rose for Indian Country Today Media Network. In Keith Secola Gets Humble for the Muse Secola also spoke about his pop-rock-opera Seeds:
It took years of writing, and writing is difficult! I started writing it about six, seven years ago. The songs have lyrics and melody, and it’s not some new age, ‘Look at this Indian with the flute’ and the audience fills it in. This has dialogue, long, meaningful, songs, with to-the-point lyrics.
That was the hard part, trying to write without being pretentious about it, because we can’t be so serious, either. You have to write with a sense of humor, and also have to look at the criteria -- one, Is it entertaining? Two, is it philosophical? Three, is it spiritual in nature? And four, is it metaphysical in nature, so people can draw their own meaning to it?
The first song is called “Song For The Marginals”. And we say, "Come out, come out marginal creatures! Now is the time to dance under the sun, because we have been dancing under the full moon for a long time, and now it is our time to reclaim the sun!"
The songs on Life is Grand are also poignant, powerful and to-the point. Check out the track Say Your Name, written about residential schools: