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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


August 24, 2002 - Issue 68


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Fifth Annual Native American Music Awards


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New York, NY - The Fifth Annual Native American Music Awards, or the Nammys, makes its midwest debut on Saturday, September 7th at the Marcus Amphitheater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Hosted by Crystal Gayle, the Awards show features over 30 awards presentations and ten live music performances. Performers include: Felipe Rose, the Indian from the Village People, Gary Small with special guest Graham Lear of Santana, Micki Free of Shalamar, Jana (2001 Best Pop Artist), four-time nominee Martha Redbone, Primeaux & Mike, Bill Miller, a special Hall of Fame Induction of the Queen of Country, Kitty Wells, and more special guests to be announced. Showtime is 8:00pm. Tickets are $24.75 and VIP tickets are $104.75 which include admittance to the VIP post-show party at Potawatomi Casino. Tickets are on-sale now at all ticketmaster outlets and

Among this year's 82 nominees are; Paul LaRoche and Brule', NYC's Martha Redbone, both with four nominations, Jim Boyd, Micki Free, Keith Secola (with John Densmore of The Doors), and Gary Small with three nominations each.

This year's Native Heart category features an impressive list of mainstream artists including; Neil Young, Bruce Cockburn, and the late Joey Ramone.

The music of this year's nominees span sounds and styles ranging from the traditional to the modern or contemporary including; celtic, latin, and christian-influenced music to a tribal dance remix of Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" and a pow wow version of "Who Let The Dogs Out." A new category for Best Christian/Gospel Recording is among the 30 categories appearing on this year's national voting ballot.This year's nominees also include children who have beat the reservation odds by making their national recording debut and commercially successful mainstream artists who are embracing their Native American roots on record for the first time.

Over 140 national recordings were submitted for nomination consisting of the most dynamic array of music genres in the Nammys five year history. Nominees were selected by NAMA's Advisory membership. Winners of the Fifth Annual Native American Music Awards will be determined through membership ballots and a national on-line voting campaign now open to the general public on the Awards website;

Presented by the Forest County Potawatomi Tribal Community, the Fifth Annual Native American Music Awards is also sponsored in part by, Indian Summer Festivals, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, and the Oneida Nation of New York. A taped radio broadcast of the Fifth Annual Native American Music Awards will be hosted by Koahnic Broadcasting and distributed through the AIROS Network. The Native American Music Awards recognizes the outstanding musical achievements of today's contemporary and traditional Native American
artists. As a consistently sold-out event in the Southwest and Northeast, the Awards have been highly acclaimed by national and international media including; USA Today, Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, Billboard Magazine, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, La Voce Italiana and France's International Herald Tribune.

Recognized for its high production qualities, educational merit, beauty and inspiration, the Awards have previously honored such artists as; Robbie Robertson, Bill Miller, Rita Coolidge & Walela, Robert Mirabal, Indigenous, the late Jimi Hendrix and Hank Williams to even the Navajo Codetalkers and the PGA's Notah Begaye. As the country's greatest resource for Native American music initiatives, over 35% of all attendees travel from across the U.S. including Alaska and Hawaii. This Year's Awards Eligibility Period was April 1, 2001 through March 31, 2002.


FELIPE ROSE - Nominated for Best Historical Recording & Song/Single of the Year. A trademark of personality, Felipe Rose is best known for the past 25 years as the American Indian attired vocalist in The Village People. Felipe Rose is a native New Yorker of Puerto Rican (Tiano) and Native American heritage (Lakota Sioux) who was raised in Brooklyn. His mother, a Copa Cabana dancer in the late 40's, made music and show business a constant influence in Felipe's life. His own talent manifested at an early age, and by 16, he had secured a scholarship with the Ballet de Puerto Rico. While dancing at a New York nightclub in his regalia, he was approached by French music producer, Jacques Morali. As the Village People's founding member, Felipe is much credited with being the inspiration. Today, The Village People remain a pop cultural mainstay of the music scene. Felipe has also bought his talents to other ventures. In the 80's, he sang and danced with Latin music maestro Tito Puente and starred in regional theater productions like West Side Story. By 2001, Felipe began working on his first solo endeavor reflecting his experiences and dreams and fulfilling a long standing goal of recording songs that he has written and produced himself.

MICKI FREE - Nominated for Best Pop/Rock Recording, Debut Artist of the Year,
and Best Male Artist. Of mixed blood Cherokee and Comanche American Indian heritage, former Shalamar member, Micki Free, will perform with John Brant, former bass player for Cheap Trick, and Dennis Tieken, drummer for Buddy Miles, Band of Gypsies, Buddy Guy and Detroit's MC5. In the late eighties, Free set in motion a career that would spawn three Grammy nominations with the group Shalamar, along with being managed by, and touring with Diana Ross, working with Prince and Janet Jackson. In 1985, he won a Grammy for "Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture"created for the movie, "Beverly Hills Cop" featuring Eddie Murphy. Free also received a gold album for his song, "Don't Get Stopped in Beverly Hills," and three platinum albums for the song, "Footloose." Following his stint with Shalamar, Micki went on to form his band, Crown Of Thorns, managed by his long time friend and mentor Gene Simmons along with Paul Stanley. After three tours of Europe, Japan, Sweden, England and America, Free decided to go solo. He has since written, produced and arranged two Cd's entitled, "Black Moon"and the nominated "Electric Warrior".

JANA - Nominated for Song/Single of the Year Winner of N.A.M.A.'s 2001 Best Pop/Rock Recording and currently featured on the cover of Native Peoples Magazine, Jana's fresh new face and exotic style brings pop music to a new level. A member of the Lumbee tribe, Jana honors her Native traditions by incorporating aspects of her culture into her everyday life. Jana states that "being an 'Urban Indian' is to walk in both worlds but not compromise her cultural identity. "I cannot ignore who I am and where I came from." It was in a small city in North Carolina where Grammy nominated producer/songwriter, Shelton, discovered Jana singing and helped get her signed to Curb Records. Her first single, "What I am To You" went Top Forty on the Radio and Records rhythmic chart. Her next single, "Ooh, baby, baby" became an immediate success on radio and in the R&R, DMA, Hitmakers, and Gavin charts. Billboard Magazine also named it the pop single of the week. After the release of her single, "More Than Life" remixed by legendary MTV DJ Skribble, Jana unleashed her latest single, a re-recorded, remixed version of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven."

MARTHA REDBONE - Nominated for Best Female Artist, Debut Artist, Record of the Year, Best Video Born in New York and raised both in Brooklyn and Benham-Lynch, a small town in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky, Martha Redbone has always seen herself as an underdog. "My father is Black and my mother is of Native ancestry, which is why I took the name Redbone." With a desire to see the world, she attended the School of Visual Arts and then followed her heart to London, England. She met writer/producer Aaron Whitby, who was also an accomplished jazz musician with a passion for soul and a sure touch in the studio. Within months, industry legend Walter "Junie" Morrison of Ohio Players/Parliament Funkadelic "adopted" Redbone and Whitby. As both mentor and friend, "Junie," excited by their talent, hooked them up with all the equipment needed to encompass their musical vision. Redbone and Whitby founded Blackfeet Productions and recorded her pop, soul-funk debut on "Home of the Brave".

GARY SMALL WITH SPECIAL GUEST GRAHAM LEAR OF SANTANA - Blues Recording, Songwriter of the Year. A member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Gary Small is an accomplished guitarist and vocalist, raised in the wilds of Montana and Wyoming. His new CD, "Wild Indians" is a powerful blend of his masterful vocal like guitar coupled with powerful songwriting regarding the many facets of this country's indigenous peoples. His guitar is the forefront to one of the most incredible percussion sections in the area. One need only look behind the wall of percussion to see the likes of former 12-year Santana drummer, Graham Lear. Gary Small displays the same emotion and drama in his sultry guitar ballads as his infamous mentor, Carlos Santana. His previous recording, "Cheyenne Blue Revisited" earned him a 2001 Native American Music Awards nomination.

PRIMEAUX & MIKE - Duo/Group, Traditional Recoding, Verdell Primeaux is of Oglalla/Yankton Sioux and Ponca heritage and was born in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Verdell believes that God has enabled him to help restore and maintain balance, peace, harmony and beauty for all people though his prayer music. In conjunction with colleague, Johnny Mike, Verdell developed healing chants or "Two in One" music, which are peyote melodies and
harmonies sung without drum or rattle accompaniment. This newer style of songs from the Native American Church attracted the attention of Robbie Robertson who included Verdell and Johnny as featured guest artists on the Capitol Records production, "Contact from the Underworld of Redboy." This year, Primeaux and Mike won a Grammy Award for Best Native American Music Recording.

PLUS Howard Lyons, Crystal Gayle & Bill Miller, Call For Peace, Kitty Wells, Hall of Fame Tribute and much more!

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