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!
( 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…
“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
( 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) )
( preliminary poster for REBEL MUSIC IN THE HOUR OF CHAOS by artist Kyle Goen (Decolonize This Place/MTO Collective) #KyleDidThis )
( Jeff McLaughlin, lead guitarist / vocals of Cactus Rose )
( Kandia Crazy Horse with Lorena, Vaimoana & Gabby of Mahina Movement @ Decolonize This Place NYC )
( Kandia Crazy Horse & Abiodun Oyewole of The Last Poets – Cactus Rose Instagram: @cactusroselovesyou )
“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.
( 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
( 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 )
Thanks to my dear friends Ned Sublette & Constance Sublette, I will be performing later this month at an event related to their weighty tome about the domestic, Southeastern slave trade in America during the antebellum era: THE AMERICAN SLAVE COAST
Their book has won the 2016 American Book Award, and we are delighted to help illuminate the dark history about the networks of trading Virginia Africans into the Deep South, the roles of American Presidents Thomas Jefferson & Andrew Jackson aka “Sharp Knife” (known by we of Indian Country as a bane to Native Americans yet most are hardly aware of his ownership of enslaved Africans) in slave trading, and also bringing forth the narratives of the Africans brought to U.S. shores themselves — amongst my portion of performance, I shall be reading a “Letter From Virginia,” to represent ye olde home state.
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.
"This is music created by a lady with a very high level of passion and talent, with a clear idea of her musical influences and what she wants to do with it. Soul in country music is not a new idea, as anyone who has every listened to Hank Williams Sr, Johnny Cash or Patsy Cline can attest to. Kandia Crazy Horse just has found a way to bring that into the 21st century and it works marvelously."
~ Music Morsels, 12.15.2013