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Six nominations for six nations

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.

Protest songs

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."

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