Sep 17, 2009 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
Nammys again honor Shenandoah and Syracuse’s Hondo Mesa Records.
A year after receiving a Grammy Award for her 2006 record Sacred Ground, Oneida Nation songwriter Joanne Shenandoah was honored by the Native American Music Awards with a Lifetime Achievement trophy. She was also inducted into the Syracuse Area Music Awards Hall of Fame.
While 2007 was a banner year for Shenandoah, 2009 could turn out even better.
Hew newest disc, Bitter Tears Sacred Ground (Hondo Mesa Records), a collaboration with Cherokee singer Michael Bucher, has received six Native American Music Awards nominations:
Record of the Year
Best Compilation Album
Best Male Artist — Michael Bucher
Best Female Artist — Joanne Shenandoah
Song of the Year — “Riding Free” — Joanne Shenandoah
Best Music Video — “Don’t Forget About Me” — Michael Bucher
The disc was recorded and mastered at Skaneateles’ SubCat Studios and released by Syracuse’s Hondo Mesa Records, an independent acoustic, blues and jazz label founded in 2003 by Dennis Kinsey.
Shenandoah and Bucher will perform at the 11th annual Nammy Awards, at 7 p.m. Oct. 3, at the Seneca Niagara Hotel & Casino, in Niagara Falls. Ticket prices start at $25; 1-877-873-6322.
Bitter Tears Sacred Ground opens with “As Long as the Grass Shall Grow,” a song first released in 1962 by Native folksinger Peter LaFarge. He wrote it to protest the U.S. government’s decision to breach its treaties with the Seneca Nation by building the massive hydroelectric Kinzua Dam on the Allegheny River. Although the song was blacklisted by commercial radio, “it remains one of the most popular of all recordings across Native America,” according to Bitter Tear’s liner notes.
The disc’s 13 tracks also include two tunes by Johnny Cash, several Shenandoah and Bucher originals, another famous LaFarge composition, “The Ballad of Ira Hayes” and — remarkably — Joanne’s gorgeous a cappella version of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The disc is dedicated to LaFarge, Cash and Dakota actor-musician Floyd Red Crow Westerman, but Shenandoah never forgets to credit her Haudenosaunee forebears. On the CD’s jacket, she personally thanks “our Iroquois elders and our ancestors living and in the spirit world for their fortitude. They taught us we can survive with dignity and grace against all odds.”
The disc’s half-dozen Nammy nominations are especially pleasing to Dennis Kinsey, head honcho at Hondo Mesa and executive producer of Bitter Tears Sacred Ground.
“When Joanne contacted me about this project I knew it would be something special,” Kinsey said. “We tried to stay as local as possible. We recorded at SubCat Studios. We used local musicians from Corn-Bred (Curtis Waterman, Morris Tarbell, John Buck) and one of the great local percussionists, Ron Keck, and local guitarist Sam Patterelli.”
In 2007, the Central New York-based blues quintet Corn-Bred won a Nammy for Best Blues Recording for the band’s self-titled disc on the Hondo Mesa imprint.
This year, Utica-Rome bluesman Jimmy Wolf from the Mohawk Nation was nominated for a Nammy for Best Blues Recording for his disc, I’ve Been Driftin’ from Door to Door.
Tickets for the 11th Annual Native American Music Awards are on sale now via Ticketmaster. Public voting to determine the winner of each category has commenced and is open to everyone. To vote, visit nativeamericanmusicawards.com. Music from all nominees is featured on the Web site.