Raven Chacon, Laura Ortman, and the Discotays Perform at One Flaming Arrow Festival


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

DOWNLOAD: Lena Recollet - "Personal Power"


Anishnaabe poet, actress, vocalist and visual artist Lena Recollet, from Wikwemikong, Ontario, on Manitoulin Island, released her first EP this year - Soul Speaking. A poetry film of the track Historical Landmark premiered at the 2011 imagineNATIVE festival and Lena opened for Buffy Sainte Marie that same week. This is our favourite track from Lena, a spoken word piece about finding her own Personal Power. Be inspired. DOWNLOAD: Lena Recollet - "Personal Power"

DOWNLOAD: Joy Harjo - "Perhaps the World Ends Here"


Joy Harjo's (Muskoke) Red Dreams, A Trail Beyond Tears is one of the runners in both Best Artist and the World Music Category at this year's Native American Music Awards (Nammy's) and a recent Indian Summer Music Awards winner. Harjo is a saxophone player and award winning poet and writer. Combining the two, Harjo accompanies her poetry with musical elements of tribal music, jazz and rock. Enjoy. DOWNLOAD: Joy Harjo - "Perhaps the World Ends Here"

RPM Podcast #006: "Six Nations"


Mohawk, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca and Tuscarora. In our sixth episode we look at the music from the Six Nations.

The Six Nations are a cultural and historical force. Part of that strength in the abundance of musicians who have come from this artistically concentrated area over the years.

RPM talked to blues artist Murray Porter about the Native influence on blues, multi-disciplinary artist and radio host Janet Rogers on her continuation of traditional oratory through spoken word (and feeling "lucky to be be born brown"), and newcomer guitarist/songwriter Joel Johnson who is continuing in the long line of fantastic Six Nations blues artists.

Also, Oneida comedy legend Charlie Hill offers a few wise words.

DOWNLOAD: RPM Podcast #006: "Six Nations"

Subscribe via your favorite RSS reader

The RPM podcast is produced & engineered by the amazing Paolo Pietropaolo.

Photo illustration created by the talented Joi Arcand.

#FrybreadFriday: Frybread Poetry


"Beaver tails", "whale tails", "elephant ears" - the vendors pop up everywhere in the summer from folk to jazz to fringe festivals. But what they're really hawking is good ol' fryfread.

In honour of this frybread in disguise, I present to you, three poems:

Frybread - A Limerick

Ubiquitous at summer fests From East coast to North, South and West They call it a “whale tail” But we know without fail It’s fry bread! And fry bread’s the best.


Frybread - Haiku

No matter the name My sight, taste, unmistaken. Get in my belly!


Frybread - Acrostic

Festival season, walking around Recognizing the smell, knowing the sound You see the sign – whale tails are here! But they cannot fool you – frybread is near. Revel in sweetness with butter and honey Eat it up savory – it’s good bang for your money Any way you slice it - up, down or sideways Delicious! Delectable! And we love it all ways.


Artist as Musician: A Multi-disciplinary Path


Recently at the Winnipeg Folk Festival when Tim Robbins and his fanastic folk-rock band took the stage, I heard someone nearby comment "why do so many actors insist on trying to be musicians too?" Had it been a coversation I was a part of and not just eavesdropping on I would have quickly replied:

Because they are artists and peformers and one practice does not exclude the other.

Why is it so surprising that an actor may also be a songwriter? Or that a sculptor may also be a poet? Certainly many artists have a practice or material that they are most moved to work in, but creative people are exactly that - creative. Of course an artist will also be inspired to explore and express themselves in other mediums. None of us, artists or otherwise, Indigenous or otherwise, are confined to one answer only when we fill in the blank: I am a ____________.

In Janet Rogers' most recent article for BC Musician Magazine she describes her path as a poet, musician, drum-maker and painter.

Yes, most native artists are multi-faceted practitioners. I am no exception, keeping at least 4 or 5 creative balls in the air at all times. In the winter of 2009, however, I regretfully yet decidedly put one of my art practices down to focus on my writing. The results have been text book, while making room for one discipline, the opportunities within the other discipline increased exponentially. I used to paint, I used to make drums, I used to make prints, I used to love my artsy-crafty sessions and I miss having time to work on these things.

Painting seems to be the lover I miss the most. In fact, on the long, three-day drive back from the southwest this May, I made a mental commitment to myself to paint again. This kind of self-resolve is where it begins. ...the muse is always listening. Speak your intentions and the avenues seem to magically open. You have to take the steps mind you, and do the work. But never doubt the power of intention and commitment – in all aspects of life.

...and in whatever medium you choose!

True, as Janet describes, it is a juggling act to be involved in multiple art forms and finding the time to pursue and focus each one can be a challenge. But I believe, and see, that exploring your ideas through different practices enriches your work overall. Janet's conclusion also rings true: "Everything is everything – creative."