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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


September 8, 2001 - Issue 44


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Indigenous Takes Unique Road To Top


 by Heidi Henson Press and Dakotan Copy Editor-Sept. 1, 2001

HARTINGTON, Neb. -- They have toured the country, been to new and exciting places and played with the musicians that some only dream of meeting. But now, before returning to the studio, South Dakota's Indigenous will be performing in Hartington for the annual Hartland Festival.

"We pretty much play anywhere," said lead singer Mato Nanji in a telephone interview earlier this week. "We try to give it our 100 percent."

Though they have played large venues this year, Nanji said he enjoys returning to the smaller venues because of the intimacy the band gains from the crowd.

"Venues that hold 20,000 or 30,000 don't feel right. A lot of the people in the back don't get the same kind of show," he said. "Myself, I like it when it's more intimate -- 300-400 people. Even if it's a couple thousand, it's good."

With their blues-rock style, Indigenous, which hails from Marty, blasted its way onto the music scene with the release of its first album, "Things We Do." According to Nanji, things have been non-stop since.

"There's a few breaks here and there, but nothing where you can really go home and stay for a good two months. It's been like a week here and a couple of weeks there," Nanji said.

It was while growing up in Marty that Nanji, his brother Pte, sister Wanbdi and cousin Horse first took the steps that have led them down a musical path.

After finding their dad's band equipment, the foursome began playing on their own, and that led to years of intense practice and work. They learned to play the instruments by listening to their parents' records -- a collection of some the best blues and rock musicians ever. By imitating the likes of Carlos Santana, Buddy Guy and B.B. King, Indigenous slowly developed the hard-edged blues that has helped propel them onto the national music scene.

It was during these early years that Nanji's talents began to flourish, as did the rest of the band. None of the members have gone through formal musical training. And still today, Nanji said he learns to play by ear and not read much music.

In recent years, the band has had the opportunity to play with some of the greatest acts around. The band opened for B.B. King during his 1999 tour, and has also played with Jonny Lang, the Dave Matthews Band and Jackson Brown. Indigenous also performed with the Indigo Girls on the 1997 benefit CD "Honor The Earth."

"It's pretty awesome playing with these people," Nanji said. "They are down to earth people."

In 2000, the band released its second album, "Circle," which Nanji said is a tribute to the music that has influenced the band.

"Our music is a mixture of influences. That's why I wanted to call it 'Circle,'" he said.

To create the musical sound for the album, Indigenous worked with Doyle Bramhall, who himself worked with legends such as Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Nanji typically downplays the band's rise from the Yankton Sioux Reservation to the national stage. However, he said, there have been moments when the band has realized how far it has come.

Nanji said he experienced the dream of a lifetime last October 2000 when he was asked to take the stage with Carlos Santana while the band toured with the Honor The Earth Tour.

Sunday's Hartington stop, which will be the culmination of the Hartland Festival, is sandwiched between performances in Eagle Butte and a number of stops in Iowa.

Indigenous will be in the studio this fall, but will continue to tour. The band is also producing a DVD scheduled to be released this fall, Mato said.

"We really didn't get a chance to put out a record this year, so we're going to put that out and give the fans something to have," Nanji said.

The DVD will included footage from live concerts, interviews and possibly some bonus acoustic tracks.

Indigenous hopes to have its new album out next spring. After that, Nanji said, it will probably take a break.

But the band wants to continue performing and reaching people.

"There's still a lot of music fans out there who haven't had a chance to hear us," Nanji said.


Indigenous Rocks

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


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