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

The Discotays: DIY on the Rez


RPM talks to queer-post-punk-electronic musicians and promoters Brad Charles and Hansen Ashley about throwing a hundred year party for Navajos, and how to rock it Discotays style.

The Discotays are a duo from New Mexico and Utah now located on the Navajo reservation. Often described as “fun dance music” or “electro punk”, they create music using a drum machine, guitars, keyboards and laptops.  Brad Charles (Navajo) and Hansen Ashley (Navajo/Zuni) like to make lo-fi, no-wave/post punk music and just put on the first Indie/Electronic music showcase for the Navajo Nation Fair.

RPM: What was cool about this past weekend's Indie/electronic showcase The Discotays put on for the Navajo Nation's 100 year fair?

DT: It's the first of its kind ever. Well, there is usually festivals that are aimed towards metal or country (music) on the rez -  never electronic/indie music. And the fact that it was sponsored by the Northern Navajo Fair Board was quite impressive. We heard later in the night that the Navajo Nation fair wants to have the same festival at their fair next year with all the same performers and more.

RPM: How long have you been together? How did you meet?

DT: We have been together as a band for almost three years now, but known each other for over five years.We met years ago in Tucson when Hansen was still a youngster. I (Brad) was living in Tucson at the time, moved back to the reservation and went to a mutual friends and got reaquainted with Hansen.

RPM: How and why did you start The Discotays?

DT: We started using just one keyboard, and (both) felt like there was a lack of visibility of queer artists on the reservation. We wanted to make music that we loved, enjoyed, responded well to. A lot of D.I.Y. influence also.

RPM: What do each of you contribute?

DT: Hansen is a great artist - he paints. Also we both make bags out of vintage fabrics, recycled fabrics, vintage buttons, and quilts as well. Hansen does all the art for covers and also silk-screens t-shirts. I usually help with sewing CD covers and the inserts. Hansen does all the programming and making beats. We both write lyrics together and come up with melodies. Right now we are sharing vocal duties, but Hansen does the other stuff, playing the keyboards, guitar, it varies though from show to show... sometimes we do songs where I play some guitar or some keyboard.

RPM: What would be The Discotays' dream project?

BC: Supporting and working with other artists, working with other musicians we really enjoy. Art projects on the reservation, like art installations, etc. Open up an infoshop on the reservation targeting the queer youth. Plus start a label of some sort to get the music that we love on the reservation out into the world.

RPM: We love that song with the heavy lyrics but still a really catchy dance beat.

BC: Yeah its called Death. It is about all these stars that are gay, or died of AIDS. Sylvester, Rock Hudson, Perkins, Robert Reed, Freddie Mercury, Steve Rubell. It's just off of a demo. Not on any album yet. That is what is nice. That it is so dance-able. I get chills at times when we perform that song.

STREAM: Discotays - "Death" Discotays - Death (live) by RPMfm 

Get The Discotay's music on teenagesewage.bandcamp.com and catch up with the band on discotays.tumblr.com.