Posts tagged “Artists

Throwback Thursday: Meeting Anna Deveare Smith

Yesterday was an afternoon well-spent in Midtown: attending the matinee of Anna Deveare Smith’s new play #NotesFromTheField @ Second Stage Theater & enjoying a post-show discussion of the school-to-prison pipeline and creative process. I was fortunate enough to see the work by the generosity of my friend who is planning to film the play in 2017, and then to meet Ms. Deveare Smith briefly afterwards. Of the many brilliant characters from various walks of American life that were featured in the play, I most enjoyed her voicing of Congressman John Lewis (D-Georgia) who is the activist that remained most at the forefront of my consciousness during 2016 & the presidential election cycle, as he urged folks to vote.

On a more personal note: Anna Deveare Smith gave me a treasured, high compliment – that my sounds / performance style / interaction onstage with space remind her of Sweet Honey In The Rock. Some of my most precious praise for my creativity that I have received & was happy to learn that Ms. Deveare Smith is from Baltimore, Maryland, aka B-more & thus of the same mid-Atlantic region – #DMV represent!

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( Anna Deveare Smith & Kandia Crazy Horse, backstage @ Second State Theater in Midtown NYC )

Either through its staging or the eventual film, looking forward to Notes From The Field speaking to a wider audience. It is a masterwork engaging with this hard, turbulent moment of murders, #BLM, Standing Rock and the “New Jim Crow” on the prison-industrial complex that Angela Davis, Ava DuVernay & several others have been holding forth on, even as one of the major prison strikes in U.S. history has been unfolding this season with very little notice or coverage. How primary school students in minority / underserved communities are being treated is something we all need to think long & hard about…

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Rebel Music In The Hour Of Chaos 12/12: On the State of protest music & activism in 2016 (final poster) #NoDAPL #BlackPower50 #IStandWithSplitRock

Beautiful poster art in my favorite color, by our brother-in-struggle Kyle Goen #kyledidthis

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Rebel Music In The Hour Of Chaos: protest music concert @ Decolonize This Place NYC 12/12

“Rebel Music In The Hour Of Chaos:” Music emanates directly from my indigenous soul. Therefore, it immediately made sense for me to perform my music again this year as a soundtrack to our overlapping struggles – including #NoDAPL. Sounds, including freedom songs past & present, most powerfully link us together & amplify what’s transpiring from the actions in the streets. I was born in the Season of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going’ On,” an album that dominated my childhood as the strivings for Total Revolution continued past the 1960s societal upheaval; and the inspiration to become an artist-activist sprang from that era. I remain under the influence of rebel music from many artists and cultures – Please join us on Monday 12 December @ Decolonize This Place. 55 Walker St, TriBeCa NYC (Doors 8pm). when we will perform some songs of protest & be in conversation about our activism with Brotha Rob Fields (Bold As Love / Black Rock Coalition) – A’ho! Cactus Rose ft. Special Guests: Abiodun Oyewole (The Last Poets) & Mahina Movement

This may be our final show of 2016, so we really appreciate you coming through & all of your support during the many Standing Rock resistance actions – Wopila tanka, y’all

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 ( Afro-Native sisterhood from Virginia: Kimberly Robison/KAR & Kandia Crazy Horse of Cactus Rose, Native Americana / cosmic country band, @ Decolonize This Place in TriBeCa this past Sunday for Black Art & Activism Now, curated by Dr. Camara Holloway & Tavia Nyong’o (Yale University) )

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( preliminary poster for REBEL MUSIC IN THE HOUR OF CHAOS by artist Kyle Goen (Decolonize This Place/MTO Collective) #KyleDidThis )

img_4092 ( Jeff McLaughlin, lead guitarist / vocals of Cactus Rose )

img_4257 ( Kandia Crazy Horse with Lorena, Vaimoana & Gabby of Mahina Movement @ Decolonize This Place NYC )

img_3640 ( Kandia Crazy Horse & Abiodun Oyewole of The Last Poets – Cactus Rose Instagram: @cactusroselovesyou )


Standing With Standing Rock #mniwiconi #NoDAPL #defendthesacred

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Just returned a bit earlier from my twin Camara’s #blackartandactivismnow event in TriBeCa @ our home away from home #DecolonizeThisPlace — fortunately, my Black Rock Coalition/Bold As Love good friend/compadre Rob Fields was seated by me at the program, sharing the digital smoke signals about the #NoDAPL good news with me during the panel & then, upon returning home, got a ring from my friend Jonathan from the camps @ the frontline in North Dakota giving the confirmation that the easement was not granted to ETA – if they git’er done, Jonathan’s footage will appear on the Tavis Smiley show on PBS Tuesday night. I finally truly believe in the power of prayer, happy to see such a great outcome after many months of organizing, laboring, marching, rallying & of course, singing, in support of #StandingRock.

Yet this is not the end, for we #blacksnakekillers of the Tri-State must be heartened by this result & continue to fight to #StopSpectra #NoAIM #NoAlgonquinPipeline & I remain #standinginsolidaritywithsplitrock >>>>>>>—–))—>♥ Sometimes we on the right side of history can prevail & conscience trumps greed and corruption. Thank you, President Barack H. “Walking Eagle” Obama & the Army Corps for your action!

Overjoyed that we water protectors have won! The Dakota Access Pipeline will be re-routed, which is a hard-won victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe & rest of the Oceti Sakowin. The ordered environmental impact statement will take months to complete, so it’s not all over & done yet. Still, we celebrate this huge victory & I will report back on the gnosis and mood of tomorrow night’s Democracy Now! event held by Harry Belafonte & Danny Glover et al @ Harlem’s Riverside Church – A’ho!

ARMY HALTS CONSTRUCTION OF DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE!


Throwback Thursday: Cactus Rose x Mahina Movement

Here’s a snap by youngblood Claude from last night @ Decolonize This Place, just before the sistren of protest music trio Mahina Movement sang a mighty powerful song In The Spirit of 1491. Contributing some guest vocals — impromptu, I joined them on singing “Ella’s Song” by Sweet Honey In The Rock, and some other tunes — & bearing witness to the live recording of their album for Palestine was a great way to end Native American Heritage Month.

(L-R) Kandia Crazy Horse, singer/songwriter/activist of Cactus Rose; Mahina Movement: Lorena Ambrosio (vocals, cajon, spoken word), Vaimoana Litia Makakaufaki Niumeitolu (vocals, spoken word) & Gabby (vocals, guitar), activists

We be #strongresilientindigenous & we’re looking forward to performing together come 12 December, back @ Decolonize in TriBeCa – A’ho!

#womenwarriorwednesdays #femalesingersongwriters #artists #activists #indigenousrevolutionaries #tbt #NoDAPL #FreePalestine

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Still Standing In Solidarity With Standing Rock #mniwiconi #NoDAPL

As I have been these many months, I continue to be engaged in the Dakota Access Pipeline resistance in solidarity with the Oceti Sakowin of North Dakota – & now, supporting Split Rock as well (sanctioned by Red Warrior Camp), in solidarity with my cousin’s wife’s people, the Ramapough Lunaape of New Jersey, in order to stop the construction of the Algonquin Pipeline. Due to the escalation of attacks on the water protectors @ Standing Rock last Sunday night, I am receiving many communications on the cause & have now been invited to perform at yet another benefit for the camps, which will take place in NYC before Christmas. Other things are afoot as well & will relate about them as they unfold. Glad to note my Virginia Native great aunt is taking up flooding the phones to the president & state representatives with her circle of elders on behalf of Standing Rock!

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( Kandia Crazy Horse, water protector, in Midtown NYC #mniwiconi #NoDAPL #NoAIM #defendthesacred #blacksnakekillers of Turtle Island )

For now, reflecting on having participated in the rally > march for Standing Rock last Wednesday @ Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan & then performing at the Benefit For Water Protectors of #StandingRock on Friday night — making our debut as Cactus Rose at Brooklyn’s famed Jalopy Theater for ole-timey/hillbilly/folk/mountain music. It was an honor to serve as the headliner for this benefit, with our special guest: Seminole/Shawnee/Mikisúkî singer/songwriter/activist Lonnie Moon Fire Harrington. I have been told by the organizer that the event raised almost $2,000 in donations, so – Wopila tanka to all who came through!

Enjoying these last days of #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth — before band rehearsals resume for our full slate of December performances & attending two events this week for artists I greatly admire: tomorrow’s BET screening of the Sharon Jones documentary (in memoriam) & the private viewing of Morrison Hotel Gallery’s traveling Neil Young exhibit in SoHo on Thursday evening. Looking forward to seeing y’all out-n-about, as well as at the Standing Rock teach-in later this week @ Decolonize This Place – A’ho!

img_0252 ( Cactus Rose, Native Americana/cosmic country band, debut @ Jalopy Theater – pix by Jan Bell of The Maybelles )

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Remembering my favorite singer & biggest influence: Gene Clark

Gene Clark, a Native son of Tipton, Missouri, was a brilliant singer/songwriter/folkie who attained global fame for a spell in the 1960s as a member of The Byrds. Then, after quitting the band at the height of their acclaim — leaving them with the amazing “Eight Miles High — Gene embarked on a long & often turbulent solo career until his untimely death right after I moved UpSouth. Thus I never got to see him live, much to my regret. Yet each & ev’ry day I flash on him & his Creation, usually keeping a lot of his collaboration with my favorite banjoist, Doug Dillard (also now gone to Glory), in heavy rotation. One of my most beloved of Gene’s songs he cut with The Gosdin Brothers backing him – “So You Say You Lost Your Baby;” I also spin his masterpiece No Other a great deal. “One In A Hundred” and “Life’s Greatest Fool” are other key tunes of his for me. Someday, I will feel brave enough to share my ode to him, which I composed out of my time dwelling in the Ozarks in Missouri, called “Tipton Bramble.”

Today’s Gene Clark’s bornday, so re-sharing the column I wrote on him a couple years back which foregrounded his Native American heritage (which many don’t know about) & also featured an interview with my Cosmic California musician/surfer friend Brent Rademaker of Beachwood Sparks & now GospelBeach: THIS BYRD DONE FLOWN AGAIN by KANDIA CRAZY HORSE

Photo of Gene Clark ( GENE CLARK, POST-FLYTE )

Also found out last night that rare country-rock specialist label Sierra Records has issued Gene Clark – The Lost Studio Sessions 1964-1982  > So will get that in my #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth rotation fo’sho’! – A’ho*

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dicljo (Dillard & Clark)

 


Kandia Crazy Horse on The Red Road East (the sequel) #NoDAPL #NoAIM

Last night, I received Supermoon Medicine & then journeyed to the television station of Bronxnet to serve as a guest artist-activist on Fierce-Truthseeker’s (Tsalagi) show The Red Road East, which covers art, entertainment & political issues of Indian Country. As you may recall, I was the guest on the first-ever episode of the program & was happy to be asked back again — specifically for Native American Heritage Month — to speak on the Standing Rock & Split Rock resistance movement in the NYC / Northeast area, what actions we have done & plan for the future & promote the upcoming Standing Rock benefits I will be doing here: on 25 November @ Jalopy Theater in Brooklyn & the weekend of 16 December on Manhattan’s Upper East Side @ Ibex Puppetry. Additionally, I will be doing an artists & activism program on the current state of protest music, back at Decolonize This Place in TriBeCa on 12 December, with my Native Americana / Cosmic Country band Cactus Rose & special guest Abiodun Oyewole of The Last Poets. Stay tuned / follow me on Instagram for posters, ticket links & updates on these events.

When The Red Road East airs, will share the footage here for y’all outside the local NYC network. The Standing Rock benefits of Neil Young, Jackson Browne & Dave Matthews have gotten a lot more notice than the efforts of our grassroots collective of activists & generally, it’s difficult to get the media to pay attention to the creation of independent musicians without multi-million dollar teams behind them. Yet we are trying hard with very few resources to contribute to the cause with an all-female artists lineup Standing Rock benefit – the one slated for mid-December — to remind people that, despite the election outcome, #TheFutureIsFemale …So we thank you heartily for your support & for coming through to the concerts. I am a mite weary, but enjoying #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth to the fullest! A’ho*

img_1952 ( Kandia Crazy Horse @ Bronxnet studios, before the live taping on “The Red Road East” )

img_3640 ( Kandia Crazy Horse of Cactus Rose & Abiodun Oyewole of the Last Poets @ Bronxnet, after the taping of “The Red Road East” #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth x #BlackPower50 #indigenousfutures #IStandWithStandingRock )

img_3625 (The set / studio of “The Red Road East” hosted by Fierce-Truthseeker #Tsalagi #Cherokee)

“Those who damage Mother Earth, damage us all / Forgive them / They don’t yet see”

– Neil Young


America: We Got To Work for Peace

“We got to work for Peace / Peace ain’t gonna be free / Gotta go to war…” so often sang my late hero & artist-activist influence Gil Scott-Heron (but he was not a warhawk, he was singing of peace-waging), when I used to see him annually in NYC at venues such as S.O.B.’s downtown. And, while I listened to his tunes “B-Movie” (about Ray-Gun America in the 1980s), “Winter In America” (a reminder for #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth & due to escalated actions around the Dakota Access Pipeline resistance & halting other black snakes of Turtle Island) & “Gun” (for obvious reasons in trigger-happy America & upon Veterans Day), this week & then just spoke with my Pamunkey great aunt Ethel from Virginia, who is an activist/southern belle/church lady in the truest sense & at 91 would have been embedded all year @ Standing Rock were it not for ailments, I was reminded indelibly that we cannot despair at this hour of chaos after the presidential election. We must be strong, we must be prayerful if we follow Native tradition & other faiths, and we must seek to be united as possible in order to work for Peace in the coming days of a New Nation that does not honor nor respect the rights of all of its citizens.

img_3456 ( Caitlin Rose & Kandia Crazy Horse @ Mercury Lounge NYC (w/ photobomb by Roddy of Daniel Romano’s band – Follow @cactusroselovesyou on Instagram )

2016: A year of sonic loss, domestic terrorism against #NoDAPL water protectors & days of rage in newly-minted Trump America…I will not retire from my activism & I am feeling a renewed dedication to songwriting, illuminating the folkways of the postmodern New South, and collaborating with other (Native) artists that also follow the Way of the New World to work towards indigenous futures. So, instead of wallowing — although I was/am mighty weary — I went out into the fractious City, finding fellowship & even some laughs with other indigenous activists from near and far as well as musicians from Argentina (Nico), Canada (Daniel Romano & band), & my sistah-in-twang Caitlin Rose (Nashville via Texas). While we raised a toast of Tecate backstage @ Mercury Lounge in the East Village/Lower East Side to Canadian singer-songwriter icon #LeonardCohen & #MightyBaby’s Martin Stone who just passed & then I rotated sounds of my treasured record collection overnight in their memory + for Veterans Day (my step-great-grandfather Mr. Bridges of SW Georgia fought bravely in World War I & always remember him upon this day) — Elyse Weinberg, Stevie Nicks (who I mightily wish I could catch on her current tour!) & Fleetwood Mac, Jon Lucien, Rufus Wainwright — it was deeply impressed upon me that we must be thankful that #WeAreStillHere able to sing, play, laugh, dance & write songs, despite possible dark days ahead on Turtle Island and all of the many sad losses that have befallen the music world in 2016. As discussed with #CaitlinRose, I look forward to playing in Nashville, doing some festivals & sharing new songs in 2017, with my trusty band Cactus Rose holding me down. Some don’t like (colored) women who are brave & fly the freak flag high; there are concurrent wars against us of the #NoDAPL resistance and the collective body of black women in this society; and there are some entities that have tried/want to silence my Voice – but still I shine on. And I am going to stay #BlackHillbilly ’til I die. Here’s to #TGIF — as my great aunt would say — and looking forward to enjoying the remainder of #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth

A’ho #countrygirlsdoitbetter

img_3397 ( Nico Bereciartua of Magpie Salute (from Argentina) & Kandia Crazy Horse of Cactus Rose band (in hat Karen Dalton) @ Henry Diltz’ Morrison Hotel Gallery in SoHo for “Midnight Rider” photography exhibit on Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band by Patricia O’Driscoll, NYC )

>>>>>>—–))—>

( Why I want to see Stevie Nicks (who I have never seen) live…She composed this song “Silver Springs” while on the Road in my homeplace of the #DMV. I used to spend special times with my late mother in Silver Spring in the brief period before she walked on & grew up going there often in my “Maryland is for crabs…Virginia is for lovers” shirt in the 1970s. Precious memories…& songwriting inspiration! )

( How I came to truly know/love Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” – via my beloved & the best male Songbird of my generation #JeffBuckley (RIP) #ScorpioRising #ScorpioSeason – In Memoriam for all the Singers & Players & Freedom Fighters )

( & Leonard Cohen & Jeff Buckley’s acolyte who’s one of my most beloved contemporary artists: #RufusWainwright – This 11/11 tune comes from his double-LP masterpiece Want One / Want Two that was life-changing for me in the early Aughts. I still treasure getting to meet Rufus once backstage at a taping of the Jimmy Fallon Show in Manhattan, courtesy of my brotha Kirk Douglas of The Roots )


Kandia Crazy Horse x Kimberly Robison #KAR on the march of Manahata for Standing Rock #mniwiconi #NoDAPL

Some of the great photography that’s come in from Afro-Native artist & milliner from Texas, Kimberly Robison / KAR. I look forward to performing with her here in NYC next month, as well as being involved with various actions on behalf of Indian Country. When I did the same march up Wickquasgeck back in early August with Brooke & Luis of Eagle & Condor Community Center, there were only 10 of us. So it was heartfelt & illuminating that so many have come to stand in solidarity with Standing Rock in the time since – A’ho*

#mniwiconi #IStandWithStandingRock #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth

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_dsc6334 (With my fellow NYC artist Cheadah, upon our arrival @ 107th Street)

_dsc6300 (In the sage smoke…)

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(Kandia by Kimberly / KAR in my “Karen Dalton” hat)


Martin Stone of Mighty Baby RIP – A master of Anglo-Americana

Sho’nuff, I got post-Election 2016 Blues & been nursing ’em by spinning a lot of fitting tunes by my hero / influence as an artist-activist, Gil Scott-Heron — including “Winter In America” & “B-Movie.” Feeling even more wintry this grey November day in New York City for just found out that musician & bookseller #MartinStone has walked on. Regret that have not had the resources to cover a favorite song by one of his former bands, my beloved #MightyBaby, as long planned; but still hope to do so one day. Like the great Ian Matthews of Fairport Convention/Matthews Southern Comfort (who I briefly met once when he got me into his tour of Gene Clark’s No Other that came to the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn) & my new friend/fellow sister country singer who used to dwell in the Ozarks, Jan Bell of the Maybelles / Brooklyn Americana Festival, who hails from Yorkshire, Stone was one of a select elite of master musicians that interpreted Anglo-Americana, perhaps the most interesting & exciting moment of the original British Invasion of the 1960s/early ’70s.

I have fortunately been invited by Jan to perform at the Jalopy Theater benefit concert for Standing Rock that she has organized, on 25 November @ 9pm in Brooklyn. Tix available here: KANDIA CRAZY HORSE x CACTUS ROSE singing in support of the STANDING ROCK water protectors camps

Here’s my beloved “Virgin Spring,” lachrymose, gossamer beauty befitting the vibes today in America. Mighty Baby was the UK’s answer to the Grateful Dead — a band I followed for aeons — & it’s interesting that they made their transition to this sound roughly around the same time that Jerry & ‘nem were trying to remold themselves in the manner of then-emerging Crosby Stills & Nash (& sometimes Young), as you hear on my favorite Dead LP, Workingman’s Dead >>>>>>>—–))—>

Sending you love o’er the Big Water in Fair Albion (despite #Brexit & #BritsSoWhite), to my brotha Mark Pringle, co-head of London’s Rocksbackpages.com which archives my early music journalism – Thankye, Mark, kindly for what correspondence did get to have with Martin Stone – A’ho*


Make America Native Again & #ImWithHer – Presidential Election 2016

I am an independent, stubborn southern belle & outlaw queen — Always been, always will be. Still, I believe #TheFutureIsFemale & I am also, of course, here for #IndigenousFutures – so I voted today in remembrance of my heroines: my Pamunkey mother Anne Marie from the Shenandoah Valley & Miz Fannie Lou Hamer, The Black Panther of Lowndes County. Sho’nuff, neither party gave us much of a decent choice & Kaine has only paid lip service to #NoDAPL on the eve of the election, smacking of desperation. Yet I have got to take the long view for the Turtle Island Liberation Movement I am a part of & with deep south kin still alive who were persecuted and firebombed by the Ku Klux Klan for daring to vote & mobilize their African-descent community to do so, I will never take my right to vote for granted. And a #NastyGal does step into the breach & flex her power, too – Love, that’s America! A’ho*

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#KandiaCrazyHorse #NativeAmericana #singersongwriter #CosmicAmericanMusic #NativeAmerican #artist #activist #indigenousrevolutionary #AfroHippie #IStandWithStandingRock #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth #LoveWillWin #Merica

Sidenote: as a Black Bullette/Taurus Woman & Wonderlove(r), this was great to read today: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/stevie-wonder-driving-equals-trump-presidency_us_5820c1a0e4b0aac62485fa21 KANDIA CRAZY HORSE loves STEVIE WONDER (a key influence)

img_1653 ( Kandia Crazy Horse #IdleNoMore in the voter queue today in Hamilton Heights / Harlem-on-the-Range, Uptown NYC – @cactusroselovesyou Instagram )

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( Coming out of my polling place, a school named for Adam Clayton Powell Jr. – IG: @cactusroselovesyou )

img_1652 ( Some local Latina sisters were gifting us #StarsAndStripes Hershey kisses while we waited to vote #VoteNYC – IG: @cactusroselovesyou )


Marching Manahata in solidarity with Standing Rock

It’s a great day to be indigenous, Sisters & Brothers! Leaving out anon to march Manahata along the Lenape trail Wickquasgeck, with my friends & fellow activists of the Eagle & Condor Community Center — we all stand with Standing Rock. This is my fight song…well, theme music for the Trail, anyroad; was singing this, “Broken Arrow” by my favorite band Buffalo Springfield, last Friday night acapella with filmmaker Jonathan Demme who’s a fellow Neil Young stan, after our #ProjectAmericana performance @ Symphony Space.

Thinking of the Missouri River (with “O Shenandoah” also echoing in my Soul) via these lyrics:

Did you see them in the river?
They were there to wave to you
Could you tell that the empty quivered
Brown skinned Indian on the banks
That were crowded and narrow
Held a broken arrow?

Today, I shall be singing freedom songs all the way from Columbus Circle to Shorakapok. We will be holding a water ceremony, after a stop at the Indian Caves of Inwood Hill. Stay tuned for my report. Rocking my mocs on out the door…! >>>>>>>—–))—>

Hope y’all are enjoying #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth & have a grand ole weekend – A’ho*

#KandiaCrazyHorse #NativeAmericana #artist #activist #CactusRose #band #IStandWithStandingRock #MniWiconi #ProtectTheSacred #NoDAPL #BlackSnakeKillas #HonorTheTreaties #StopSpectra NO #AlgonquinPipeline #rockyourmocs #VOTE!

 


Throwback Thursday: Of race, Country music & the 2016 CMAs

Well, since my sentiments about the state of Nashville’s country music establishment on and beyond Music Row tend to be unwelcome even amongst my former circle of rock critic colleagues, I wasn’t going to weigh in on this year’s CMA Awards, the 50th edition, which I did happen to watch. However, in my absence offline, an apparent controversy has been brewing on the subject of race and country music, due to the much ballyhooed performance of “Daddy Lessons” by Texan artists Beyonce (pop, urban) & the Dixie Chicks (once modern country royalty). Although I don’t wish to gas up TMZ, the site is one of the prominent places that has cited the CMA site & social media having scrubbed their entire online platform of images/references to said Beyonce-Dixie Chicks summit in response to copious racist reactions to the awards show appearance on Twitter & elsewhere: VIEW HERE

Now, I am no Beyonce fan nor “stan;” and I have no fear of the BeyHive in stating this — my backpages as a longtime music critic & editor for over 20 years clearly delineates where I stand on her & chronicles many of my thoughts on the history and contemporary scene of black artists who create in the overlapping country & western, bluegrass, hillbilly, Cajun, prewar stringband, mountain music, Americana, and roots genres. I also happen to have served on a panel @ CUNY Graduate Center in NYC earlier this year, holding forth on Black Banjo, my role in the country & western genre as an artist and touring fan, the Affrilachia movement, and the recent publication of scholar/banjoist Laurent Dubois’ book THE BANJO – America’s African Instrument. Talked about the fictional Darlings of The Andy Griffith Show a.k.a. The Dillards, and how Doug Dillard became my favorite banjo player and influence via Dillard & Clark. And I am a veteran of my friend Greg Mays’ annual Harlem Hoedown, where I always square dance as I learned as a babychile in rural Virginia to the sounds of my dear friends the Ebony Hillbillies. I was a “primordial” adopter, supporter, and then critic of the Americana scene in general, way back into the 1980s, and have watched successive waves of cowpunk, neo-southern rock, alt-country, y’allternative, insurgent country, progressive country, Ameripolitan, indie folk, etc etc come to consciousness and come to market; and always pondered about the African presence in all of these scenes and on the record business side up to this day where  Americana is now on the Billboard chart — the year’s big news in music. The pop/urban mix with country as a featured event of the CMA Awards has obvious precedent; many of my former colleagues are still talking about Justin Timberlake (who’s in the process of going Country & recording a country album) performing with Chris Stapleton last year. Yet this year’s turn, especially at the 50 marker, is notable less due to Beyonce but rather down to the fact that at a time when Bro-Country is waning, Taylor Swift has defected for pop, and nigh every classic arena rocker has cut a country record/moved to Nashville to revive flagging careers, country (&western) still has a glaring race problem and its related business wing cannot develop or sustain virtually any artists of color not named Darius Rucker. Opening the show with a too-brief turn by black country icon Charley Pride underscored this issue; the fact that the CMAs chose to have Stapleton and Dwight Yoakam — great & skilled though they are — pay homage to Georgia R&B hero & country maverick Ray Charles, to illustrate the S-O-U-L of country music instead of even summoning their own recent hitmaker Mickey Guyton or Americana star Rhiannon Giddens who was present at the awards (backing up Eric Church) showed exactly where they stand. The citing of SOUL, as it always has been, is code for the blackness in twang; the modern country (&western) scene and business has never quite progressed beyond the early 20th century moment of Race Records and segregating sounds by racial and regional provenance. And all hell broke loose on social media yesterday and today, as country music fans of the dominant culture rushed to show their displeasure with the inclusion of a black (pop) artist on the CMAs, accusing her of trying to take away country music from whites who supposedly have eternal ownership of the genre — despite the patent & well-documented African and Native American origins of country besides the Scotch-Irish contribution. I myself am a Native Americana / cosmic country & western artist in no small part because I am of Native American, African, and Scottish descent, a rich hybrid made in America’s Southeast from which the Source of the music eternally springs. I am also just a fanatic of bluegrass, mountain music, and cowboy tunes — and I claim as much ownership of that Creation as anybody. Keen observers have known for a spell that one of the most vibrant bluegrass scenes in the world is in Japan, and that events and festivals like the Black Banjo Gathering in Boone, North Carolina, have been yielding a younger, new wave of twang talent of African descent.

14925357_541294672731117_8531302700367219900_n (My shot of superstar country artist #BradPaisley & #CharleyPride opening #CMAAwards50 – credit: @kandiacrazyhorse Instagram)

Here’s what I posted in response to the show on Wednesday night, while live-blogging portions of it on Facebook & Instagram: “I am watching #CMAAwards50 & pondering deeply about the African & Native American roots of the genre; plus how far Nashville & Music Row still have to go in honoring these legacies. Wonderful to see my hero #CharleyPride open the show with my fellow Virginian #BradPaisley (Yep, I’m a fan, despite the unwieldy “Accidental Racist;” I blame LL Cool J); but still tinged with some sadness and confusion. Someday, #NativeAmericana & #BlackHillbilly will take their proper place. For now, enjoying seeing all the 1960s & ’70s country women I grew up on that made me aspire to sing in twang, besides my Native American triumvirate (Buffy Sainte-Marie, Karen Dalton, Rita Coolidge): Loretta Lynn, Tanya Tucker, Barbara Mandrell (!!)…& Reba…Waiting for Dolly [Parton], of course…! #KandiaCrazyHorse #NativeAmericana #mountainmusic #AppalachiaSounds from #Virginia #countrysinger #southernbelle #countrygirlsdoitbetter #AffrilachianNation”

Quibbling about how pop or authentically country any given act is — that’s something I leave to the working music critics. Certainly, the Dixie Chicks’ reappearance on the CMAs was controversial due to their past & interesting to have that baggage reexamined so close to the presidential election. Some staunch country loyalists were always going to react negatively to that. Yet the main issue — just as a decade-plus battle for Country Music’s soul reaches its zenith (see the site Saving Country Music for consistent dispatches on this topic) — is that country (&western…& Americana) is the last frontier for artists of African descent — whether that be Virginia-bred me, Kandia Crazy Horse & my new band Cactus Rose, or Kenya’s leading country singer, Sir Elvis Otieno — and the country establishment and much of the genre’s audience still views it as their own private safe haven away from the predations of urban music/culture/style and technology-tied modernity. It is interesting that Bro-Country, which would often feature the likes of Florida-Georgia Line duetting with Nelly and Blake Shelton attempting to rap, is fading just as there is a rise and music industry push behind a range of country and Americana acts that claim rock and other musics as influences or stylistically and attitude-wise invoke 1970s Outlaw Country: Kacey Musgraves, Sturgill Simpson, Margo Price, Sam Outlaw, etc…and are hailed for restoring “true” country sonics and values […with nods to their precursors Shooter Jennings and Hank III (both of whom I often loved & covered as a critic in the past)]. Yet there’s still apparently little to no room under the twang tent for we country artists of color, cosmic or otherwise.

Hey, I love Tompall Glaser and Clarence White & Willie Nelson as much as any other ’70s babe of my generation; and as a singer-songwriter, I am clearly influenced by my most beloved Gene Clark and the Buffalo Springfield — hear my paeans “Quartz Hill” & “Americana” “Tula” (en espanol) & “Scene & Herd” etc — and the less-celebrated Ladies of the Canyon like Judee Sill, Claudia Lennear, and Essra Mohawk. Neil Young, I see you (& thanks for singing for Standing Rock). I spent the early 1970s toddling behind my dear lil’ Pamunkey mother from the Shenandoah Valley at the bluegrass tents of Folklife Festival, snuck viewings of my favorite show Hee-Haw (’twas grand to see Roy Clark pickin’ an’ grinnin’ on the CMA, yep?), dreaming of growing up to play the Grand Ole Opry (at the Mother Church Ryman, of course) just like Darius Rucker; he ain’t the only one! Sweetheart Of the Rodeo by The Byrds & The Notorious Byrd Brothers were always & still are major for me. I am talented, and I am well-versed in the breadth and depth of country; I am extremely proud of my southern roots. All we want, after so many moons of flying the freak-flag high for Black Hillbilly & Native Americana, is to have a permanent non-conditional seat at the (farm) table, per Mrs. Knowles-Carter’s great sister Solange.

As I go prepare to march for Standing Rock again this weekend through all of Manhattan, please note that the date for the Jalopy Theater water protectors benefit in Brooklyn has been changed to 25 November. Follow the new Cactus Rose band Instagram account at @cactusroselovesyou  for more details as they are announced. I continue my personal commitment to ongoing activism on behalf of the Standing Rock water protectors, and the band & I are very much looking forward to playing with our friends from the Brooklyn Country scene! I expect this to be one of my treasured highlights of #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth 2016

A’ho*

 

 


Kandia Crazy Horse x Jimi Hendrix: Native American Heritage Month

Hope yer gettin’ over The Hump well this week, Sisters & Brothers! For those that don’t know: November is #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth

Here in New York City, I will be doing lots of actions & activities to honor that. Among them, I am doing a prayerful march through the entirety of Manhattan Island this Saturday with my friends of the Eagle & Condor Community Center (in Queens), from the National Museum of the American Indian @ Bowling Green (the southernmost tip of Manhattan) all the way to Shorakapok (the Indian Caves @ Inwood Hill on the Spuyten Duyvil). The march goes from 10 am until 6pm. I will also be rolling through the Black Farmers Conference in Harlem this weekend.

This month, I will be performing at another benefit for Standing Rock, on November 25 @ 9pm, this time at the City’s premiere venue for hillbilly/old-timey/bluegrass/roots music — the Jalopy Theater in Brooklyn. I have been trying to work it out to play at Jalopy for a long time, so happy to finally do so for a great, beautiful cause so near and dear to my Native heart. This will also be the proper debut of my new Native Americana / twang band Cactus Rose. More details TBA!

img_2989 (Kandia Crazy Horse @ Electric Lady Studios in vintage fringed buckskin jacket, Greenwich Village NYC, by Camara Dia Holloway)

Made my #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth pilgrimage to #ElectricLadyStudios in the Village, honoring #JimiHendrix’ Native #Tsalagi roots. Received some purple & feathered energy from Jimi that I will be unleashing when I perform @ the Standing Rock benefit @ Jalopy – A’ho*

#Jimi Hendrix #AniYunwiya #KandiaCrazyHorse x #CactusRose #Pamunkey #Afrohippies #CherokeeMist #TaharqaAleem #Ibeji #TheAleems #TwinsSevenSeven #NativeAmericana #ICanHearAtlantisFullOfCheer #MniWiconi #ElectricLadies #CosmicAmericanMusic


Hawk Medicine in Hudson Canyon

We three Native American sisters & NYC artists, representing three Nations & both the Upper and Deep South, had a lovely, impromptu gathering down by the riverside of Hamilton Heights yesterday before the rains swept along the Hudson River. Surrounded by several circling & swooping hawks, we began a powerful conjure straight out of Hudson Canyon — look forward to us being involved with the recently-discovered Lenape burial mounds at 125th Street in Harlem, among other projects – A’ho* #KandiaCrazyHorse #TessReese #KimberlyRobison / #Karline #HawkMedicine

img_1229 (Kandia Crazy Horse on the Hudson River, view of the Palisades, by Tess Reese, Choctaw)

img_1233 (Karline x Kandia x Tess, by Kandia Crazy Horse)

img_1231 (Stormy Sunday in Hudson Canyon by Kandia Crazy Horse)


Kandia Crazy Horse x David Archambault II #mniwiconi #NoDAPL #StandingRockSiouxTribe

Between rehearsals for #ProjectAmericana & getting to assorted meetings around NYC, this has been a busy, heady week. Amongst the events I am glad I was able to make time for: Indigenous Forum @ Columbia University. The best part of this was hearing from some of the Oceti Sakowin youth who ran from Cannonball, North Dakota to Washington DC to raise awareness about the Dakota Access Pipeline & related resistance, which I have been engaged in since the dawn of August. Their emotional pleas underscored why we need to keep up our prayers and support for the water protectors at Standing Rock.

img_1063 (David Archambault II & Kandia Crazy Horse @ Columbia University, NYC)

It was also an honor to hear Standing Rock Sioux Tribe chairman Dave Archambault II speak, including about the long history of predations by the U.S. government & settlers on his Oyate’s sovereign territory and subsequent environmental threats to their lands; and then to get to speak to him briefly about my musical endeavors in Indian Country, as well as specifically on behalf of the water protectors of Standing Rock. Right now, we are watching the live feeds of leaders like LaDonna Allard & others, waiting to see what sadly is happening of the moment in North Dakota. Yet, I still have another musical benefit for Standing Rock in development (in NYC) & am committed to sing in support wherever, whenever may be called. A’ho*

#mniwiconi #NoDAPL #ProtectTheSacred #LoveWaterNotOil #RezpectOurWater #StandingInSolidarityWithStandingRock


ThrowbackThursday: “Cabin In The Pines” live from the Sacred Water Medicine Show in NYC

As filmed by Camara Dia Holloway, some footage from my Standing Rock water protectors benefit concert, the Sacred Water Medicine Show, is now viewable on this site; click the tab for MUSIC.

This song, “Cabin In The Pines,” which is based on a once-real jookhouse in Southwest Georgia but is my sonic & lyrical paean to Appalachia / Affrilachia, remains one of my most favorite songs I have written to date. If you have not gotten the Native Americana / Country / Americana album that features it yet, Stampede, it is still at my CD Baby store:     STAMPEDE available here!

Playing herein @ Decolonize This Place / Artists Space in TriBeCa with my new band, Cactus Rose (minus Brother Evan on drums!) #mniwiconi #NoDAPL #ProtectTheSacred


Sacred Water Medicine Show: My Standing Rock water protectors benefit concert in NYC #mniwiconi #NoDAPL

Good Friday, y’all! I am now getting feedback & documentation from the Standing Rock water protector camps benefit I conceived, curated & performed at last Saturday in Manhattan @ Decolonize This Place (Artists Space) in TriBeCa. Such was the response, I have been asked to undertake some more & when things develop, I will be sharing the word here & on my Instagram. Regardless, my personal commitment to praying for & helping support the Oceti Sakowin & other united nations assembled @ Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota remains unabated; the setbacks to the trips I was slated on since August were unavoidable, yet I still plan to be of service there. And we of the Eastern nations are paying attention to the similar projects here in our own “backyard,” such as the Algonquin Pipeline, & doing actions locally.

My #IndigenousWeek in NYC concludes tomorrow with the re-opening of the Caribbean Cultural Center (CCCADI) in Harlem on 125th Street. More to come! A’ho*

“Water Is Life – Solidarity Concert” on Saturday, October 8th, 2016 (All photographs by Camara Dia Holloway)

14590381_10210341608754587_4728288835212698825_n-2 (Kandia Crazy Horse giving the Introduction to the benefit concert @ Decolonize This Place in TriBeCa, by Camara Dia Holloway)
14691258_531632583697326_3077662141286453516_o (Kandia Crazy Horse & Morgan O’Kane, singers/songwriters/purveyors of twang & Appalachian-rooted mountain music, from Virginia)
14753196_531637043696880_5792530365201464589_o (With my lead guitar player/singer Jeff McLaughlin – Cactus Rose by Theodore Kuhnapfel)
14729315_10210341609234599_3472715491501719080_n (Alex Battles)
14681610_10210341609314601_8736319201832742049_n (Lonnie Harrington)
14590405_10210341610274625_4485607832802687523_n (Morgan O’Kane)
14713560_531645400362711_8164107098134039851_n (Ebony Hillbillies)
14681833_10210341610834639_3725016544496197947_n (Bejike Luis Sanakori Ramos doing water ceremony & closing dance)
14724638_10210341608674585_1973248216076382922_n (My Tsalagi aunty Eagle Woman (our hostess & emcee) & the gang getting the shoutout on the welcome wall @ Decolonize This Place)
14595565_529544267239491_2293595528462129051_n (Rehearsing for the Standing Rock benefit earlier last week in Midtown, with Alex & Lonnie)

 


Kandia Crazy Horse from The Native & The Refugee

Black&White images from The Native & The Refugee’s album of #DecolonizeThisMuseum, Decolonize This Place’s Anti-Columbus Day Tour of American Museum of Natural History on Monday 10/10/2016 – Photographs by Vane Terán

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14589665_777964582345341_2850785519395691298_o


Kandia Crazy Horse x #DecolonizeThisMuseum in Frieze

Yet more coverage of the Indigenous Peoples Day action @ American Museum of Natural History — the attempt to #DecolonizeThisMuseum & the Anti-Columbus Day Tour of the galleries seems to have really struck a nerve in art & activist circles. Read more here (including photograph of me): FRIEZE: Election Special – Body Languages

adsfsdfawfcads (From Frieze.com – Photograph: Andrés Rodriguez)

More Indigenous Day of Remembrance 2016 in NYC

idor2016-7 (Kandia Crazy Horse dancing women’s traditional @ Indigenous Day of Remembrance NYC in Central Park, by Kerrie Sansky)

This photo collection & blog by Kerrie Sansky just in, from the Indigenous Day of Remembrance in Manhattan this past Sunday. Features several photos of me & my friends from the Movement:

Blue Eyes Smiling blog on IDOR 2016

 


Kandia Crazy Horse in Indigenous Peoples Day NYC film by Peter Eliscu

Here is the footage by Peter Eliscu covering the actions I was involved in from this past Monday in Manhattan, October 10, 2016: #IndigenousPeoplesDay > #DecolonizeThisMuseum @ American Museum of Natural History > & the subsequent march through the Upper West Side commemorating the young Lakota man murdered by police in Rapid City, South Dakota, after attending a #NativeLivesMatter rally in 2014, Allen Locke.

In this film, I am dancing & reading the Indigenous Peoples Day 2016 declaration.


Kandia Crazy Horse x Decolonize This Museum NYC

Decolonize This Place’s Monday action @ American Museum of Natural History in NYC – #DecolonizeThisMuseum – was a resounding success & has been getting coverage in outlets as diverse as the Guardian (UK) & Bitch. I have already linked the press which included interviews with me on the subjects of Indigenous Peoples Day, why I am standing in solidarity with the Oceti Sakowin of Standing Rock / #NoDAPL, & ongoing issues with museum and archival collections established in the 19th century and earlier and how they resonate with us today in the 21st century. Here are some more images from the action, by myself or ones featuring me by Betty Yu. Looking forward to organizing more with #DecolonizeThisPlace – A’ho*

14563441_10209172315778423_5698614324265180754_n Kandia Crazy Horse reading the Indigenous Peoples Day 2016 declaration @ American Museum of Natural History – on the Theodore Roosevelt statue @ Central Park West & 79th Street (Credit: Betty Yu)
14606363_10209172304458140_426804370941124717_n (by Betty Yu)
14642354_10209172304018129_8751199933616624382_n (by Betty Yu)
14642089_530911550436096_1385138216637602553_n (Inside the galleries of American Museum of Natural History, by our #NoDAPL chronicler, Dan Vea)
14681660_530911663769418_6101202082881587596_n (Andrew of #DecolonizeThisPlace @ the Hall of African Mammals, American Museum of Natural History, by Kandia Crazy Horse)
14695311_530911760436075_7901748495020340843_n (#DecolonizeThisMuseum in the Rotunda, by Kandia Crazy Horse)
14522808_530911617102756_9063092105462676208_n (Brother Amin Husain of #DecolonizeThisPlace & my Virginia homegal, artist Marz Saffore (in #BlackLivesMatter hoodie), of NYU in the galleries @ American Museum of Natural History, by Kandia Crazy Horse)
14718651_530911983769386_1770850799197649496_n (1 of 2 original #DecolonizeThisPlace posters for the #DecolonizeThisMuseum action, by Kandia Crazy Horse)
14721602_530911850436066_327715498904209642_n (Artivists covering the statue of Theodore Roosevelt outside American Museum of Natural History in echo of the 1971 Lakota action, by Kandia Crazy Horse)

Indigenous Peoples Day 2016

Howdy y’all of Indian Country & beyond! Although my trip to Standing Rock (departing yesterday) was postponed, I am coming off a whirlwind of three days’ activity about the Dakota Access Pipeline resistance & working to establish Indigenous Peoples Day in NYC and throughout Turtle Island. My benefit for our Standing Rock water protectors, the Sacred Water Medicine Show (AKA Water Is Life – Solidarity Concert), went very well Saturday night in TriBeCa & there are some possible future shows in store – stay tuned! Will be posting photographs & live footage soon.

Sunday, despite the rains, we were at Central Park across from Columbus Circle, commemorating our Ancestors & holding forth on the experiences and leadership of Native women @ the Indigenous Day of Remembrance; I sang one of my original songs, and participated in some ceremonies besides dancing. Photos to come…

Yesterday, I did another action with Decolonize This Place: the Anti-Columbus Day Tour of the American Museum of Natural History for their #DecolonizeThisMuseum event. Here below is the press thus far that contains parts of interviews I gave on the topics of Indigenous Peoples Day, the benefit, and why I am #StandingWithStandingRock as an indigenous revolutionary to the Guardian (UK), The Nation, & the paper that I used to write for/help edit, the Village Voice. Yes, we (mostly) covered the infamous statue of Theodore Roosevelt that fronts the entrance to the Museum, but we also spread some very important messages. This is a heady Indigenous Week of a lot of related events here in NYC, and you will see me out — after I finally get a disco nap! A’ho*

14642037_10209172304698146_5484341417449614873_n (Kandia Crazy Horse reading the Indigenous Peoples Day 2016 declaration, on the covered statue of Theodore Roosevelt with African & Native American men @ American Museum of Natural History NYC – Credit: Betty Yu)

READ:

Kandia Crazy Horse on Indigenous Peoples Day for Guardian UK

Kandia Crazy Horse on Decolonize This Museum & Indigenous Peoples Day in the Village Voice

 

14425317_204988159922162_8570463346922424495_o