Friday, November 27, 2009

Wayquay and Buffy Sainte-Marie

Today is Buy Nothing Day. But insead of discussing consumerism, I want to write about Native American music. There was an article in the Boston Phoenix by Greg Cook called Classic Rock? about the myth of the pilgrims and Thanksgiving. He quotes Wamsutta Frank James who, in 1970, said "Massasoit welcomed and befriended the settlers of Plymouth Plantation... This action by Massasoit was perhaps our biggest mistake. We, the Wampanoag, welcomed you, the white man, with open arms, little knowing that it was the beginning of the end; that before 50 years were to pass, the Wampanoag would no longer be a free people."

The United American Indians of New England renamed the day "National Day of Mourning" and each year they meet at the Massasoit statue before their protest march through Plymouth.

In honor of the National Day of Mourning, I would like to highlight two amazing Native American musicians,  Buffy Sainte-Marie and Wayquay on Grrrl Sounds.  Both women are activists and work passionately to bring social justice to our world by raising social consciousness through music.

Buffy Sainte-Marie has been playing music for over forty years.  Her music has been covered by Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, Cher, Neil Diamond, Roberta Flack and Janis Joplin (just to name a few!)  She has a non-profit organization devoted to help Native American students participate in learning.  She's sung at the Kennedy Space Center and she was on Sesame Street a bunch of times. Kanye West has sampled her music. There is no way I can sum up her career. She is a legend.  Here is a clip of her speaking about, and playing her song, Universal Soldier, which was originally released in 1964.

And here is a video for the song, No No Keshagesh, from her fifteenth studio album, Running for the Drum, which was released this year.

I met Wayquay through a mutual friend a few years ago and was lucky to see her perform. She is a force of nature.  She was on the Women of the Four Winds Tour, which was documented by PBS. She has presented awards at the NAMMY's.  You should check out her Tribal Grind album from 1997. 

Wayquay at Women of the Four Winds
Buffy Sainte-Marie: a Multimedia Life Documentary
Buffy Sainte-Marie Official Website


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