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Welcome to Indian Country

Photo by Ryan Hunt Photography

Welcome to Indian Country brings together a diverse, world class five piece contemporary Indigenous music ensemble with Rena Priest, Washington State Poet Laureate in collaboration and celebration.  Together,  these celebrated artists create an evening of lyrical storytelling told through song and spoken word whose purpose is to come together in celebration-celebration of ancestral connections,  celebration of Indigenous and Native musical contributions to North America's musical and cultural history, and celebration of what it means to be Indigenous in North America today. 

The Artists


Director. Assistant Director
 

A musical and storytelling celebration

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Delbert Anderson, Director to Welcome To Indian Country is enjoying a music career as one of today's most forward thinking artists. Recording, touring, community outreach, music educational workshops, composing/arranging and guest appearances keep Anderson busy not only in his hometown of Farmington, NM but worldwide. Anderson has been featured on JazzTimes, Grammy.com, NASA, NPR Music Top 10, Smithsonian Magazine, Yahoo/Mic.com, TEDx, PBS, FNX Television and much more. Anderson has also been awarded the 2021 Presenters Consortium for Jazz Award from Chamber Music America funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, 2021 Jazz Road Creative Residency from South Arts funded by Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, 2021 Emerging/Leaders of Color Program from Western States Arts Federation and the 2019 Native Launchpad Award by Advancing Indigenous Performance with Western Arts Alliance.  More information on Delbert at:  DelbertAnderson.com

Delbert Anderson

Photo by Ryan Hunt Photography

Julia Keefe (Nez Perce), Assistant Director for Welcome to Indian Country, grew up on the Nez Perce Indian reservation in Idaho and graduated from the Manhattan School of Music's Master's in Music Jazz Vocals program in 2019 and from the University of Miami's Frost School of Music in 2011. Pre-pandemic she made her living as a New York City-based professional jazz singer. In both recorded tunes and live performances. She blends a quirky sense of humor with jazz of the 40's and 50's, creating a jovial marmalade of smooth vocals and rapier wit! She has had the honor of opening for jazz legends, such as Tony Bennett and Esperanza Spalding. Her life’s work is the revival and honoring of the Coeur d'Alene jazz musician, and legend Mildred Bailey and is the leader of the campaign to induct her into the Jazz Hall of Fame.  More information on Julia at:  JuliaKeefe.com

Julia Keefe

Photo by Ryan Hunt Photography

Storyteller/Poet
Washington State Poet Laureate
 

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Photo by Ryan Hunt Photography

Rena Priest is a Poet and an enrolled member of the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation. She has been appointed to serve as Washington State's Poet Laureate for the term of April 2021-2023. She is also the recipient of the Vadon Foundation Fellowship (2020), and an Allied Arts Foundation Professional Poets Award (2020). She has attended residencies at Hedgebrook, Mineral School, and Hawthornden Castle. Her debut collection, Patriarchy Blues was published by MoonPath Press and received an American Book Award. Her second collection, Sublime Subliminal is available from Floating Bridge Press. Individual poems are featured at Poets.org, Poetry Northwest, Pontoon Poetry, A Dozen Nothing, and elsewhere. Priest has also published non-fiction pieces in High Country News, YES! Magazine, Seattle Met, Adventures NW, and Nautilus. She is a National Geographic Explorer (2018-2020) and a Jack Straw Writer (2019). She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.   More information on Rena at:  RenaPriest.com

Rena Priest

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Photo by Ryan Hunt Photography

Nokosee Fields(Osage) was born and raised in Stillwater, Oklahoma, studying orchestral violin at a young age. After years of learning and performing Classical music, Nokosee turned his attention to traditional American music, performing, teaching, and touring professionally. As a bassist, he tours with the Country band Western Centuries, as well as the old time band Steam Machine. As a teacher, he has taught at the Augusta Heritage Center, tutored at Centrum’s festival of American fiddle tunes, and was the artist in residence for the Portland old time gathering. He’s placed in numerous fiddle contests and most notably took first in the 2019 Clifftop Fiddle Competition. Nokosee’s lengthy and diverse experience in the performing arts gives him a unique approach to creating, listening and facilitating music.  More information on Nokosee at:  NokoseeFieldsmusic.com

Nokosee Fields

Composers. Musicians

 

Nicholas Lucero was born in Albuquerque, NM and raised in Southern Colorado - Nicholas has had the opportunity to play with several great jazz artists ranging from Kevin Eubanks to Bud Shank.  Playing music since he was 5 - Nicholas has worked on integrating his Peruvian and Spanish culture into a modern funky style.  Currently touring with D'DAT, Nicholas is also on the board for the San Juan Jazz Society and is a founder of the Indigenous Youth Arts Education Foundation. He has has been featured on NPR Music Top 10, Smithsonian Magazine, Yahoo/Mic.com, TEDx, FNX Television and much more. More information on Nicholas at:  NicholasLucero.com

Nicholas Lucero

Photo by Ryan Hunt Photography

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Photo by Ryan Hunt Photography

Mali Obomsawin

Mali Obomsawin is a musician, activist, and citizen of the Abenaki First Nation at Odanak. She is a bassist, songwriter, composer, and singer, with an eclectic background in pop, free/avant-garde music, and American roots styles. Obomsawin tours internationally with her indie-folk-rock band Lula Wiles (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings), and gigs as a freelance bassist in New York City where she resides. As an Indigenous liberation activist and scholar, she has most recently published her work in Smithsonian Folklife Magazine and the Boston Globe. She received a B.A. in Government and Comparative Literature from Dartmouth College in 2018.  More information on Mali at:  MaliObomsawin.com

We Would Like to Thank Welcome To Indian Country's Generous Supporters 

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"This was what it sounded like to make it through these hundreds of American years, to sing through them. This was the sound of pain forgetting itself in song.”
― Tommy Orange(Cheyenne)

Photo by Ryan Hunt Photography