Silver Jackson drops a video for the title track from his latest album, Starry Skies Opened Eyes.
One of our favourite releases of 2014, Silver Jackson's Starry Skies Opened Eyes is a bold imagining of an Indigenous future found in the reclamation of life and the rediscovery of present possibilities in the here and now.
Collaborating with Diné filmmaker Dylan McLaughlin, the Tlingit Unangax̂ artist has released an evocative black and white music video for the album's title track, "Starry Skies Opened Eyes".
Here's what he had to say about the clip and the album:
"Starry Skies Opened Eyes features" vocals from multidisciplinary Métis artist Moe Clark. The album was recorded over a three year period that saw Jackson narrowly escape death in a hunting accident, and traces his path to newfound perspectives on life through love and gratitude…friends and family.
Watch the video below and stream the full album, Starry Skies Opened Eyes, right here on RPM.
The One Flaming Arrow Festival of Indigenous art, music, and performance blazes on.
Kicking off last week in Portland, Oregon, the inaugural One Flaming Arrow Festival is bringing an incredible array of contemporary Indigenous art, music, readings, film screenings, panels, performances, and concerts to the Indigenous lands of the Chinook/Multnomah peoples.
The brainchild of Demian DinéYazhi, Kaila Farrell-Smith (both of R.I.S.E.), and Carlee Smith, One Flaming Arrow launched a successful crowdfunding campaign this winter to bring together radical Indigenous voices from across Native america for a 12-day celebration of contemporary Indigenous arts.
The festival features a stellar lineup that includes:
- Bat Vomit
- Natalie Ball
- Dylan Miner
- Melanie Fey
- Sky Hopinka
- Shilo George
- Jeff Ferguson
- Laura Ortman
- The Discotays
- Brittany Britton
- Raven Chacon
- Katrina Benally
- Amanda Ranth
- Miranda Crystal
- Almas Fronterizas
- "Drunktown's Finest"
- Burial Ground Sound
- Grace Rosario Perkins w/Amberlee Cotchay
- Melissa Bennett w/Elizabeth LaPensée & Allie Vasquez
In between the low-rider bike workshops, storytelling sessions, art installations, poetry performances, and an Indigenous Futurisms film night curated by Grace Dillon, the festival is also showcasing some of the finest in Indigenous music culture.
On Tuesday, June 9th, Diné experimental/noise musician Raven Chacon (of Postcommodity), White Mountain Apache violinist Laura Ortman, and the Diné electro-queerpostpunk duo Discotays will throw down at the Holocene. Event info is below.
The One Flaming Arrow Festival continues through June 14th. Check the festival program for the full schedule of events.
One Flaming Arrow offers stark and powerful evidence of the Indigenous artists at the forefront of the contemporary creative arts. May this year be the first of many to come.
Listen to an OPB radio interview on the One Flaming Arrow Festival
JUNE 9th: Laura Ortman & Raven Chacon Performance and the Discotays at the Holocene!
9:30pm-11:30pm Holocene: 1001 SE Morrison, Portland 97214 Join us on June 9th, 2015 at the Holocene in Portland, Oregon for Raven Chacon & Laura Ortman + Discotays. We have the honor of showcasing two award-winning multi-instrumentalists, Indigenous composers Raven Chacon & Laura Ortman along with the musical styling of Discotrays.
Tickets available here
DISCOTAYS (Diné) are a music duo from Navajo Nation, comprised of artists Hansen Ashley & Brad Charles. Their music has been adored by the likes of Kathleen Hanna and can be described as post-punk electro & queerpostpunk / queerpostsurf / queernowave.
Laura Ortman (White Mountain Apache) has performed with Stars Like Fleas, the Dust Dive & Silver Summit, & composes music for art installations & films in the form of the Dust Dive Flash. She plays violin, Apache violin, piano, electric guitar, musical saw & samplers. Ortman has created music for films by Martha Colburn & Indigenous filmmakers Blackhorse Lowe, Alan Michelson, & Raquel Chapa, among others.
Raven Chacon (Diné/Chicano) is a chamber music composer & experimental noise artist. Chacon is a member of the Indigenous art collective, Postcommodity, with whom he has developed multi-media installations that have been exhibited internationally. Both his solo work & his work with Postcommodity has been presented at the Sydney Bienale, Kennedy Center, Adelaide International, Vancouver Art Gallery, Musée d’ art Contemporain de Montréal, The San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, Chaco Canyon, & Performance Today. Tickets are $8 in advance & $10 at the door. 21 and over.
Watch Raven Chacon, Live at End Tymes in New York City
Indigenous artists continued their takeover of popular culture in 2014. Here are the best Indigenous music videos of the year.
First things first, if you missed our epic selections of the Best Indigenous Music of 2014, you should go read and listen to what we picked. Also check out the Most Slept-On Indigenous Album of the year.
And as though our top albums, EPs, singles and our Best of 2014 Remixtape weren't enough to satiate your hunger for Native artistry, we've also compiled our favourite Indigenous music videos of 2014.
There were many amazing, cinema-sonic moments put on tape this year, but these were the videos that made the deepest, most engaging, and even funniest, impressions on us.
15. Jayli Wolf - "I Don't Remember"
Part of the fifth season of APTN's First Tracks, this is a sibylline dreamscape for a haunting and deceptively simple song by Jayli Wolf (Métis). Directed by Michelle Latimer, we love getting lost in the video's black and white layering of starry, underwater, earthy and mesmerizing images.
14. Scatter Their Own- "Taste the Time"
"We are only as clean as our water" says Oglala Lakota duo Scatter Their Own. Want to know why Indigenous people are rising up against pipelines through our territories? This is why. An ominous and compelling...er...taste of things to come. That is, unless we change course.
13. Princess Nokia - "Nokia"
Cyber-supernatural 90s vibes abound in this neon and glittery ode to anime, BFFs, Nickelodeon, robotic dogs, and Nokia ringtones, among assorted other shimmering oddities. Flashbackward to bedazzled future beats in this trippy slice of this Taino Princess' world. You'll be hypnotized just like we were.
12. Mic Jordan - "Modern Day Warrior (ft. Real Truth)"
Youthful, exuberant, dedicated to the struggle and dropping hip-hop gems, up-and-comer Mic Jordan holds it down rapping directly about what it means to thrive and survive as a modern day warrior for his people, the Turtle Mountain Chippewa. Now that's what's up. This clip comes from Jordan's slept on album, Sometime After 83, which he dropped earlier this year (and which you should go download for free right now). The struggle lives and breathes in the artistry of talented Native MCs like Mic Jordan. "And damn right / I was built to fight". Tell it!
11. Kinnie Starr ft. Ja$E El Niño - "Save Our Waters"
Mohawk artist Kinnie Starr's not one to be shy in speaking her mind and this ode to protecting coastal waters from intrusive pipeline development finds a perfect counterpart in this collab with Haidawood—a stop motion animation video that works perfectly for the track that CBC called "part indictment, part wake-up call". We are in need of both at this point, and this is a creative and playful way to get the message out. Now let it compel action.
10. Drezus - "Warpath"
Although we're not exactly sold on Mic.com's framing of Indigenous hip-hop as "the most authentic rap we have today" (what is authentic? who is we?), we get what they were trying to say. No one else is bringing together raw talent, creativity and firepower like Native artists. Plains Cree/Saulteaux artist Drezus doesn't mix words or mess around and on this Stuey Kubrick-directed clip, he reps for the people—painted up, fire burning, singers around the drum, wild horses running slow mo, and surrounded by his fam and relations. That's power. Watch it all the way to the end for a special appearance by Beau Dick, master carver and hereditary chief of the Namgis First Nation, making that west coast warrior connect.
9. Angel Haze - "A Tribe Called Red"
Two of our favourite artists joined forces this year and the results exceeded our expectations. Although a lyric video for this tune was released a while back, this official video for Cherokee singer/MC Angel Haze's collab with A Tribe Called Red brings that ultra-crisp, black and white, leather-clad, dialed aesthetic we were hoping for. You want some more? Good luck competing with Angel Haze's "deity swag and omnipotent style".
8. Radical Son - "Human Behaviour"
When minimalism works, it really works. Keeping with that vibe, Kamilaroi artist Radical Son's video for his soulful tune "Human Behaviour" works with opaque spaces, blending deep, dark blacks and fading whites and greys, and using its stripped down visual spectrum to pull the gravity of the song's deep reggae groove out from the depths. Dope.
7. Sacramento Knoxx ft. DJ Dez - "The Trees Will Grow Again"
Community organizer, activist, MC, hip-hop producer and micro-documentary maker, Anishinaabe/Xicano artist Sacramento Knoxx is a man of many talents. This joint brings it all together with a dope visual delivery of rugged anti-imperialist politics, BDS empowerment, and raw hip-hop talent. That, plus the proceeds of the track go to benefiting youth and community. Knoxx is elevating the game and bringing power back to the people. The RaizUp is right. Represent.
6. Cree Nation Artists (Chisasibi Community) - "I Believe"
Ok, this one is pretty amazing. Hip-hop artist/producer and educator David Hodges has been working with the Cree Nation Government on a community-based music project called "N'we Jinan". Travelling throughout Cree communities in Quebec, Hodges set up a mobile studio, created music with youth and, in the process, produced a 19-song album that just went to Number 1 on iTunes in Canada. "I Believe" is the first single from the album—and it's an inspiring showcase of rising youth talent and empowerment. Raise it up for the next generation celebrating "culture, language and love". These are the voices we'll be listening for.
5. Greg Grey Cloud Storms the U.S. Senate with Honor Song After Keystone XL Vote
When the U.S. Senate votes to reject the Keystone XL pipeline by one vote, ONE VOTE, what else are you going to do but sing an honour song until they kick you out of there? Well, that's exactly what Crow Creek Sioux member Greg Grey Cloud did. You want to restore order Elizabeth Warren? Join Greg in "honouring the leaders who stood up for the people". Respect!
4. A Tribe Called Red - "Sisters (ft. Northern Voice)"
It's hard not to get behind a video that features a song we love, made by a crew the entire Native community loves, featuring Natives we recognize, and basically depicting exactly how it feels to get down to Mohawk/Cayuga/Anishinaabe crew A Tribe Called Red's music. Of course it's a party. Of course we're dancing in our bedrooms, in the convenience store, at the club, and in the car. Oh and course we have fireworks, colour smoke bomb things, and a Mohawk Warrior flag flying as we roll down a winter highway with the sunroof rolled back, the windows rolled down, and ATCR on blast in the system. You know we're all headed to the same Electric Powwow night anyways. See you on the dancefloor, relations.
3. Supaman - "Prayer Loop Song"
Just another day in the life of your average beatboxing, freestyling, regalia wearing, powwow and b-boy fancy dancing, flute playing, drum beating, record scratching, loop-making, Crow Nation hip-hop SUPAMAN. They don't call him that for nothing, you know. Mad mad skills. Watch and learn.
2. Rebel Music - "Native America"
When we found out Rebel Music were debuting their Season 2 premiere, "Native America", as a Facebook-only video stream, we were all "Really guys? Facebook only?". But then we remembered how much NDNs lovvvvvvve Facebook—and how amazing the "Native America" episode is—and we realized this was actually a pretty brilliant strategy. The episode became a rallying cry for Native people across Turtle Island: it was viewed more than 2 million times in its first week (at last count it was approaching 4.5 Million views and still climbing). Needless to say, many tears of joy and shouts of Native Pride were shared (check the FB comments) as we watched ourselves and our community being represented for how we really are: vibrant, creative, alive and thriving in the midst of all the insanity! So special shout outs to Frank Waln, Inez Jasper, Nataanii Means and Mike Cliff for representing their nations—and all of our people—in a good way. Rebel Music: Native America reminded us that everyday is a great day to be Indigenous.
1. 1491s - "Cherokee"
There's no way this wasn't making the cut. Let's face it. With what we're up against, collectively, we all need more humour in our lives. And, according to the Dine/Dakota/Osage/Seminole/Creek comedy crew the 1491s, we all need more Europe in our lives too. The band, that is, not the continent. The 1491s have made a lot of amazing videos over the years, but this one is such an incredible parody of the 1986 hit, there's just no way the original can compete anymore. And that's saying something, because have you seen the original?? All we can say is MOAR. More of this please. More Turdle Island, more NAMMY GOLD, more HBC blanket antics, more decolonizing Europe, and more of whatever the hell Ryan Red Corn is doing. A newly indigenized modern hair metal classic. Aho!
Kari Denny-Flynn aka Writtyn is a Din'e hip-hop artist from the Navajo nation. After living through a difficult childhood, Writtyn turned to poetry at the age of 14 as an outlet. Drugs and dropping out of high school derailed the young artist temporarily, but after returning to finish school she began to learn more about herself through creating music. She now shares her experiences, and how she survived them, by telling her story through music and public speaking. Her upcoming album I'm Not Perfect speaks to her honest exploration through her lyrics. Check out this track Writtyn sent us and look forward to hearing more. DOWNLOAD: Writtyn - "A Song for Ma Ft. Tacara" >
Conscious Indigenous hip-hop group Antithesis collaborates with Blackfire's Klee Benally for this track entitled "I See You".
Antithesis has been putting in work towards the conscious hip-hop movement for the last decade. The group consists of three Mc's and a DJ: Freetruth from the Pomo and Dine Nations, Prophecy from the Prairie Band Potawatomi People, C-Los of the Isanti Dakotah and DJ Jonra of The Laguna and Acoma Pueblos. Here's a track from their latest release The Power Of Purpose which features Klee Benally from the Navajo punk band Blackfire entitled "I See You".
Dine’, Pomo, Aztec, and Spanish artist Vic Buildsafire is an independent, self-produced hip-hop artist based in California. The production value of his work is high and the message is strong – his submission to RPM instantly caught our attention and we’re stoked to share this track with you. His new album, The Barter, is about trading cultures, motivation and self-reflection and Vic is driven to represent his tribe and share life’s struggles through his music. While he talks about the struggle, he's coming at it with love. Feel it and get the whole album at vicbuildsafire.bandcamp.com. DOWNLOAD: Vic Buildsafire - "Revolution"
Declared "fireball punk-rock" by the Godfather of Punk Joey Ramone, Navajo Punk band Blackfire serve traditions with fiery fury.
Jeneda, Clayson and Klee Benally are the sister and brothers punk-rock collective, Blackfire, from the Black Mesa in the Navajo Nation. Holding strong in their family unit, Blackfire has grown and gained international acclaim and a large grassroots following by staying true to their roots and traditions in music and Indigenous culture.
Blackfire's hard-driving sounds are accented with socio-political messages and sometimes mixed with traditional Navajo musical stylings. Their message speaks strongly to the genocide, eco-cide, government oppression, displacement of Indigenous peoples and other socially conscious struggles against violence and in support of human rights. Through their impassioned politically-driven sound, Blackfire translates high-energy into a fiery fury of intellectual, spiritual and musical medicine.
The family trio have been touring the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Europe since 1989, and at times have combined performances with their traditional family dance group "The Jones Benally Family". Blackfire was the first Native American group to be invited to play on the Vans Warped Tour and in 2007, they released their double-CD entitled [Silence] Is A Weapon, which was produced by Ed Stasium, who has produced high profile acts like The Ramones, Living Color and the Talking Heads.
While touring the world with major festivals, appearing on tribute albums to Punk legends the Ramones, Blackfire remains true to their message and roots by only playing all-ages venues at festivals, clubs and concerts. They also spend time with youth doing lectures, workshops and school residencies promoting respect for all cultures.
Their musical activism branches out into the world by touching audiences in Europe and beyond, but also in the fight for recognition of issues within their own homeland. Most recently the band has used their reverence to bring attention to the expansion of an artificial ski facility on a sacred mountain near Flagstaff, Arizona in which the 13 tribes in the area hold sacred. After the supreme court denied an appeal to two lawsuits against the Arizona Snowbowl's artificial snowmaking, Blackfire still holds their ground in bringing light to the situation on their sacred grounds that they and their ancestors have used for generations for ceremony and medicine gathering.
Proving that music is about more than money, power and fame, Blackfire shows us that we can make a difference if we choose to fight and bring the fire to system. For more about Blackfire's fight to save the sacred peaks, check out this article at Truthout.org
Check out more about Blackfire on their website.
This is the video for their song "Overwhelming" from their last album (Silence) Is A Weapon