Tag Archives: Pow Wow

CreativelyMusical.com Artist of the Week May 26, 2013: Arvel Bird

The one thing the Internet has allowed music lovers to do is explore the vast amount of independent and undiscovered musicians and artists out there in the world. One is no longer limited to what is on the radio, the television or the local scene and record shops. You can learn about the music of just about any country in the world. From traditional music to interpretations of pop music with a cultural twist.

Riding in a car with an eight year old who will listen to the same song as many times in a row as you let her, the phrase expand your horizons comes up quite a bit. If we play her other music, she’s quick to ask to get back to her songs. I am guilty of playing the some playlist every day, but I always make time for finding new music, pulling out an old playlist or even those old-fashioned vinyl records. Even though I love my daily playlist, I have a vast music collection and I always have to dip into it every now and again.

I have been expanding my horizons in a bunch of different directions over the last couple years. Looking for digital versions of songs that I heard on the radio and watched on MTV as I was growing up, looking for vinyl albums that have the songs I can’t find digitally and finding new music where I haven’t looked before. I have been listening to deep album cuts of my favorite artists and listening to more of other artists I like. I use the similar artists feature on Rhapsody to find more music similar to what I like. I almost always find stuff I hadn’t heard before, some old and some new, and much of the time I wondered I how missed the stuff that was around when I was growing up.

Sometimes mainstream artists lead you to the not-so-mainstream stuff. That’s the case with this week’s CreativelyMusical.com Artist of the Week, Arvel Bird. I would have probably never discovered his music if I hadn’t spent so much time expanding my horizons. My path to him is Rickey Medlocke. When I first started learning more about Rickey, I found out that he was inducted in to the Native American Music Awards Hall of Fame at the 10th Annual Native American Music Awards. That’s where the path started…the NAMALIVE.com web site. I started listening to pow wow recordings and various traditional artists of the Native American tribes.

That led to learning more about the cultures and eventually I attended my first pow wow here in Middle Tennessee. It was my second pow wow in October of 2012 that I first heard of Arvel Bird. He mixes Native American music with Celtic music for a unique blend of beautiful harmonies. He plays the violin or fiddle, which was a big draw for me. Although I hadn’t played much in years, I did play the violin for 10 years of my life in school. From the second grade to the twelfth grade, I played the violin. I played mostly classical music, but a few popular tunes and standards along the way. I even found sheet music of some of my favorite songs and learned to play them.

Like I said, I haven’t really played in years. Arvel’s mix of Celtic and Native American music is really appealing to me. My heritage is a large part Irish, and I do like some traditional Irish music. Add in the violin and it’s a winner to me.

At the pow wow he went through a variety of selections from his catalog, but the one song I remember the most had a verse in it about a hawk and it not letting the other smaller birds around it bother it or distract it from it’s goal. I have witnessed hawks do just that and it is amazing every time. Listening and watching Arvel perform was spiritual for me. Although I can’t claim any Native American heritage that I know of, the two pow wows I have attended have felt that way – spiritual experiences that are enlightening.

Music is supposed to touch your soul, it does touch your soul. Native American music, Arvel Bird’s music in particular, does just that in a spiritual way. I will share just a few selections of his catalog, but I strongly recommend that you give his full catalog a listen. It has a little bit of everything, a fusion of styles and music for your spirit.

Arvel Byrd Live!: (Rhapsody Link) http://www.rhapsody.com/artist/arvel-bird/album/arvel-bird-live

You can find his music on Rhapsody, Amazon and his web site ArvelBird.com.

You can also find Arvel Bird on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace

Here are some of the photos that I took of him at the Tennessee State Pow Wow in October, 2012.

After listening to Arvel Bird for the first time, I pulled out my phone and looked him up on Facebook. I went home and added him to my Rhapsody and Amazon libraries, too. The Animal Totems CDs are my favorites, but I recommend listening to his entire catalog.


CreativelyMusical.com Artist of the Week: April 22, 2013 – NAMA Nominees

Creatively Musical Artist of the Week for April 22, 2013

This week’s feature will be on all of the nominees for the Native American Music Awards being held on May 10 in Niagara Falls, New York.

Samples of all the nominees entries can be found at http://nativeamericanmusicawards.com. Click on each of the categories to listen to submitted entries.

Here is a list of nominees in each category (Source nativeamericanmusicawards.com):


Gary Small & the Coyote Bros (Northern Cheyenne) – Hostiles & Renegades
Jana Mashonee (Lumbee) – Stay With Me Baby
Joanne Shenandoah (Oneida) – Lifegivers
Joseph FireCrow (Northern Cheyenne) – Night Walk
Tony Duncan (Apache Arikara, Hidatsa) – Earth Warrior
Tony Redhouse (Navajo) – Release


Compilation – Marc Brown & The Blues Crew
Dancing In The Rain – Graywolf Blues Band (Yoeme Cherokee/Muskogee)
Sing It Louder – Cary Morin (Crow)
Songs Lived & Life Played – Murray Porter (Mohawk)
Soul Left Blind – Smokestack Lightning (Tohono O’odham)
Up From The Ashes – Mitch Walking Elk (Cheyenne/ Arapaho)


A Tribute To Our Heros – Various Artists
Healing Winds – Various Artists
Native Circle Touch The Earth Festival – Various Artists
The Longest Walk: Reversing Diabetes –– Lorena Windfeather Navarez
The Meherrin-Chowanoke Project – Various Artists (Various)
Written In Blood – Various Artists


Ali Fontaine – Ali Fontaine (Ojibway)
Do It Anyway – John McLeod (Cree)
Living For the Sunny Days – Jim Boyd (Colville)
Forever – C-Weed Band (Metis)
Still No Good The John Redcorn Experience – Graywolf Blues Band (Yoeme Cherokee/Muskogee)
The Foundation of Who I Am – Duster (Cowessess)


Emmanuel Black Bear (Lakota) – Memories
Lena Recollet (Odawa/Ojibway/Pottawatami) – I Am Woman, Kwe
Ryan Little Eagle Molina (Lakota) – Straight From The Heart
Sinuupa (Inuit) – Culture Shock
Smoke/ RedHeadz (Yanktonai Sioux) – Smoke Native Amerikaz Most Wanted
Terry Strongheart (Cherokee) – Tears


Big River Cree (Plains Cree) – The Old Way
Dawa (Hopi/Tohono O’odham) – A Joyful Defiant Tone
Frank Waln & Cody Blackbird (Rosebud Sioux) – Hear My Cry
Honey Dawn Karima and Cloudwalker (Creek/Cherokee/Cree) – The Desire of Nations
Painted Raven (Cherokee/Choctaw) – Mirage
Polar Nation (Lenape/Cherokee) – Polar Nation


Ali Fontaine (Ojibway) – Ali Fontaine
Callie Benett (Navajo) – Glorify
Fawn Wood (Cree) – Iskewewak: Songs of Indigenous Womanhood
Kelly Jackson (Lac du Flambeau) – Spirit of a Woman
Radmilla Cody (Dine’) – Shi Keyah – Songs For The People
Terri-Lynn (Haida Nation) – New Journeys


D.R.U.M. – Wind Spirit Drum (Mic Mac/Lenapa/Cherokee)
Michael Bucher – Michael Bucher (Cherokee)
One Shot – Josh Halverson (Mdewakanton Dakota)
Reach Within – Howard Lyons (Mohawk)
Spirit of a Woman – Kelly Jackson (Lac du Flambeau)
The She Wolf – Jimmy Lee Young (Maya)


Bryson Meyers (Chippewa/Cree) – White Elk Music Sounds of Heavan & Earth
Douglas Blue Feather (Cherokee) – Flute Medicine
Joseph FireCrow (Northern Cheyenne) – Night Walk
Ryan Little Eagle Molina (Lakota) – Straight From The Heart
Terry Lee Whetstone (Cherokee) – Peace 2 Love
Tony Duncan (Apache Arikara, Hidatsa) – Earth Warrior


A’BA – Cheryl Bear (Dene/Nadleh Whut’em)
Glorify – Callie Benett (Navajo)
Rain Holy Spirit Rain – Yvonne St. Germaine (Cree)
Simple Things of Life – Stan Summers (Paiute/Miwok)
The Desire of Nations – Honey Dawn Karima and Cloudwalker (Creek/Cherokee/Cree)
On The Silent Night – Sayani (Cherokee)


Big City Indians (Navajo) – Tuwa
Bluedog (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate) – Just Living The Blues
Graywolf Blues Band (Yoeme Cherokee/Muskogee) – Dancing In The Rain
Nake Nula Waun (Rosebud Sioux) – The Definition
Pipestone (Ojibwe) – Tribute To The Old Timers
Tha Tribe (Various) – Warriors in the Mist


Celebrate – Kalan Wi (Salish)
Deers R Us – Deer Clan Singers (Tuscarora)
New Journeys – Terri-Lynn (Haida Nation)
Preserving The Heritage: Insights & Songs – Kevin Locke (Lakota/Anishinabe)
Spirit of a Woman – Kelly Jackson (Lac du Flambeau)
Tali – SilverWolf: AdelaunegvWaya (Cherokee)


Native Colors: Homeland Nation Soundtrack – Rickey Medlocke (Lakota/Choctaw)
North West Voyage – Metis Fiddler Quartet (Metis)
Open Your Heart – Mark ThunderWolf (Lakota/Eastern Band of Cherokee)
String Theory – Joseph Strider (Apache)
Tribal Fusion – Cal Silverfox (Apache)
Wind Dreamer – Jan Michael Looking Wolf (Grand Ronde)


Cheevers Toppah (Kiowa/Navajo) – True Melodies Harmonized Songs From The Heart of Native America
JJ Kent (Oglala Lakota) – Owayanka Wastelo
Jan Michael Looking Wolf (Grand Ronde) – Wind Dreamer
Jim Boyd (Colville) – Living For The Sunny Days
Terry Lee Whetstone (Cherokee) – Peace 2 Love
Wayne Silas Jr (Oneida) – True Round Dance Songs


Among The Ancients – Rushingwind & Mucklow (Cahuilla)
Earth Songs – Douglas Blue Feather & Danny Voris (Cherokee)
Journey – Gvwi (Cherokee)
Medicine Crow & The Sandhill Band – Carroll Medicine Crow (Lenape/Cherokee) & Aki Red Bird
Release – Tony Redhouse (Navajo)
Walking From The Roots – Coyote Jump (Mescalero Apache)


DEEP Soul Chants & Hollers – Mwalim DaPhunkeeProfessor (Mashpee Wampanoag)
Indian E – CC Murdock (Shoshone/Paiute)
Shawn Michael Perry & Only The Brave – Shawn Michael Perry (Salish/Myan)
Stay With Me Baby – Jana Mashonee (Lumbee)
Supernation – Vince Fontaine’s Indian City (Ojibway)
The Art of Peace – Michael Jacobs (Cherokee)


The Old Way – Big River Cree (Plains Cree)
Drum Boy – Mistikwaskihk Napesis – Northern Cree (various)
Horse Dance – Mistation Simoowin – Cree Confederation (Cree)
Memories – Emmanuel Black Bear (Lakota)
Tribute To The Old Timers – Pipestone (Ojibwe)
Warriors in the Mist – Tha Tribe (Various)


Francois Couture – Yahndawa’
Gabriel Yaiva– Written In Blood
John Avila – Shawn Michael Perry & Only The Brave
Kelly Parker – The Old Way
Peter Blackwell – Homeland Nation Soundtrack
Stefan Galfas – Stay With Me Baby


Alienated – Chase Manhattan (Muscogee Creek/Leech Lake Ojibwe)
B of Dakota South Records – B of Dakota South Records (Yankton Sioux)
Love Me Down – Ralphael Deas (Apache)
Smoke Native Amerikaz Most Wanted – Smoke/RedHeadz (Yanktonai Sioux)
The Definition – Nake Nula Waun (Rosebud Sioux)
Trouble – Tha Native (San Manuel)

RECORD OF THE YEAR (Traditional & Contemporary)

Earth Warrior – Tony Duncan (Apache Arikara, Hidatsa)
Lifegivers – Joanne Shenandoah (Oneida)
Shi Keyah – Songs For The People – Radmilla Cody (Dine’)
Spirit of a Woman – Kelly Jackson (Lac du Flambeau)
Supernation – Vince Fontaine’s Indian City (Ojibway)
Tribute To The Old Timers – Pipestone (Ojibwe)


A Joyful Defiant Tone – Dawa (Hopi/Tohono O’odham)
Find My Way – Saving Damsels (Navajo & Hopi)
Just Living The Blues – Bluedog (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate)
Forty Years – Original Xit Ox Boyz (Yazzie/Navajo)
The Joint Effect – The Joint Effect (Muscogee/Seminole/Cherokee)
Wrong Side of Salvation – Arcane Belief

SONG/SINGLE OF THE YEAR (Contemporary / Traditional)

Every Rez! – Johnny Oberly (Eastern Shashone)
God Bless The Whole World – Michael Jacobs (Cherokee
Hear My Cry – Frank Waln & Cody Blackbird (Rosebud Sioux)
Lac du Flambeau Reservation – Bobby Bullet (Lac du Flambeau)
Rez Bluez – Murray Porter (Mohawk)
Stay With Me Baby – Jana Mashonee (Lumbee)


Ali Fontaine (Ojibway) – Ali Fontaine
Cheryl Bear (Nadleh Whut’em) – A’BA
John McLeod (Cree) – Do It Anyway
Leon Skyhorse Thomas (Navajo) – Lost Tapes
Peter Sackaney (Constance Lake) – Where Love Belongs
Tash Terry & Elena Higgins (Navajo &Maori) – Grandmother Earth Grandfather Sky


6 Directions – Janet Rogers (Mohawk)
Got Your Back – Janet Rogers and Alex Jacobs (Mohawk)
I Am Woman, Kwe – Lena Recollect (Odawa/Ojibway/Pottawatami)
I Know This Man – The Sampson Bros (Seneca)
Long Long Ago – The Story Tellers (Abenaki)
Preserving The Hertiage: Insights & Songs – Kevin Locke (Lakota/Anishinabe)


A Tribute To Our Heros – CC Murdock
Do It Anyway – John McLeod (Cree)
Horses Thunder – Big City Indians
It’s About Time– Shane Yellowbird (Samson Cree)
Polar Nation – Polar Nation (Lenape/Cherokee)
Trouble – Tha Native (San Manuel)”


Desert Woman- Yolanda Martinez (Apache)
Frank Waln Common Man Nake Nula Waun – Randy Eriksen Films
Homeland Nation (Various) – Rickey Medlocke
Sacred Ground Extended – Michael Bucher (Cherokee)
The Making Of A Joyful Defiant Tone – Dawa (Hopi/Tohono O’odham)
Wicohan – Cody Blackbird (Cherokee)


Eastern Wind, Northern Lights – James Stephenson (Plains Cree)
Emotions – Randall Paskemin (Cree)
It’s A Love/Hate Thing – Dearly & Denny (Lakota Sioux/Menominee)
Shi Keyah – Songs For The People – Radmilla Cody (Dine’)
Tsionathonwisen – Akwesasne Women Singers (Mohawk)
Warfield Moose – Warfield Moose Jr (Lakota)


In Loving Memory – T.O. Combo (Tohonor O’odham)
Chapter Four – Juanios Boys & Familia (Tohono O’odham)
Lesson 1 – Mumsigo Tribe (Tohono O’odham)
Musicians In Harmony – Gertie & The T.O. Boyz (Tohono O’odham)
With All Our Love…Catherine Conde – Carl & Buddies (Tohono O’odham)


Celebrate – Kalan Wi (Salish)
Flying Down Thunder and Rise Ashen – One Nation (Algonquin)
Hostiles & Renegades – Gary Small & the Coyote Bros (Northern Cheyenne)
Tuwa – Big City Indians (Navajo)
Written in Blood –Casper Loma Dawa/Various
Yahndawa’ – Andree Levesque Sioui, Akienda Laine, Franceis Couture (Huron)


Michael Longrider – Endless Time
John Two Flutes Fields – Creekside
Scott Tweedie – Opening Sound
Steven Graves – Matter of Time
Sybille Hummingbird – Serenity
Terry Frazier – The Awakening

31st Annual Tennessee State Pow Wow Photos

This was the second pow wow that I have ever attended. It is very much a spiritual experience, as well as a learning experience. While I have no known lineage in the Native American culture, I do relate the the spiritualism, the simple and straightforward teachings and the emphasis on family and tradition.

I have been interested in Native American Indian cultures since at least 1994, possibly earlier, just from traveling by car on vacation to Tennessee or Florida from my native Pennsylvania.

A few years ago, Marty Stuart released a CD called Badlands about the Lakota people. I enjoyed that CD thorough. As time and funds have allowed, I have read a few books, watched some documentaries and learned more about the culture. The Internet has definitely opened up a lot of information.

Becoming a diehard Lynyrd Skynyrd fan in 2010, Rickey Medlocke has also influenced my desire to learn more about Native Americans and their culture.

What I admire most about the people and the culture is the sense of pride and perseverance, the desire to maintain a culture that lives simply and wholly with the land. At this year’s pow wow, I listened to Arvel Bird tell stories that I related to, that I have witnessed at various points in my life. It put meaning to moments in time that I never correlated before.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the photos. There are over 1,000 of them — it would have taken forever to whittle them down to just a few. Please share them with your friends if you like them. 🙂

Tennessee State Pow Wow Photos – October 20, 2012