October 2009

Native American Music Awards

Kevin Locke nominated for three Nammy awards — October 3 public voting deadline

Kevin Locke was recently nominated for three Nammy awards: Best Artist, Best Flutist, Best Record (Earth Gift) — the only person nominated for all three categories. The Native American Music Awards or “The Nammys” is a national music awards show that celebrates and honors the outstanding achievements of today’s leading Native American artists.

The Nammys is unique in that voting is open to the public. Until October 3, anyone can vote for the Nammys who registers for free through the Nammy site. The voting process is explained at Kevin’s site.

The 11th Annual Nammys will be held in Niagara Falls, New York on October 3. At that time, award winners in 30 categories from every genre of music as well as Hall of Fame recipients will be announced based on public voting results.

Kevin won a Nammy previously in 2000 for First Flute (Best Traditional Recording). Earth Gift was released in 2008.

Native Peoples review of Earth Gift
Native Peoples magazine review of Kevin Locke’s Nammy-nominated album, Earth Gift

The July/August issue of Native People’s magazine reviewed Kevin Locke’s newest release, Earth Gift, calling it “an album of rare beauty.”

The full review: A flute player, hoop dance and choreographer, Locke has carried Native culture all over the globe with his performances, both alone and with the KLNDE [Kevin Locke Native Dance Ensemble]. Earth Gift is an album of rare beauty, with traditional Lakota thunder, eagle vision and animal songs recorded with singers Doug Good Feather and Gracie RedShirt Tyon, and noted world-music instrumentalist and percussionist Tom Wasinger backing Locke’s expressive flute playing. The songs are given a deep spiritual feeling by Good Feather’s powerful vocals, Locke’s double-tracked flutes and the ambient sounds-scapes Wasinger has created. (J. Poet, Native Peoples Magazine, July/August 2009)

Kevin Locke

Kevin Locke receives $100,000 Bush Foundation award

Kevin Locke was recently announced as one of three recipients of the 2009 Enduring Vision Award.

The $100,000 award is designed by the Bush Foundation to “propel the artistic investigations of mature artists and to encourage their continued influence on present and future generations of artists, audiences and the artists’ field of work.”

The Enduring Vision Award is the only award of its size and intent in the country. The grant is awarded annually to up to three artists with at least 25 years experience in their craft. The Bush Foundation distributes the award over a three to five-year period wherein Kevin and the other two awardees, Michael Sommers and Mary Louise Defender Wilson, are given the opportunity to experiment and expound on their current works.

The selection process for the award included panel judging at a regional and national level by specially chosen artists and cultural leaders. Artists who receive the grant demonstrate a series of qualities: breadth and depth in their past creative accomplishments, the promise of continued future artistic excellence, a commitment to the work, strength and energy in their vision, and an intent to continue to enrich their particular fields of work.

Anthony Brown

Anthony Brown joins Ixtlan roster

Ixtlan welcomes to its roster internationally acclaimed baritone Anthony Brown.

Anthony performs a crowd-pleasing repertoire of vocal music, from musical theater and African-American spirituals, to opera, oratorio, and art song. Music alone is not his only passion, however. As a licensed psychotherapist, Anthony uses music to promote peace and reconciliation in countries where peoples' lives are torn by war and civil strife. He’s traveled to Bosnia, Northern Ireland, China, Japan, Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, Uganda, South Korea, and Ethiopia.

Through Ixtlan he will offer two programs, “The Underground Railroad and the Wisdom of Spirituals,” and “Anthony Brown presents Paul Robeson, A legacy for the 21st Century.” Both programs carry the goal to connect people across race, language, religion, and culture to help audiences focus on how all people are one in the family of humanity.

Darrah Carr Dance

Darrah Carr Dance joins Ixtlan roster

Darrah Carr Dance joins the Ixtlan 2009 Roster. Darrah Carr Dance blends traditional Irish step and contemporary modern dance. Formed in 1998 by Artistic Director Darrah Carr, the company creates high energy, rhythmically based work by combining the components of Irish music, step dance footwork, and spatial patterns.

Artistic Director Darrah Carr calls her style ModERIN: a playful combination of the words modern (dance) and ERIN (an Irish American term of endearment for Ireland).

Ixtlan is offering two distinct repertory programs: ModERIN (fusion works and Irish duets), and Irish Extravaganza (fusion works, Irish duets, and traditional Irish group dances). Both programs have a live music component and feature champion Irish step dancers.

Darrah Carr Dance tours extensively nationally and internationally.

Darrah Carr online brochure

New online brochure added for Darrah Carr Dance

Ixtlan’s newest 60-second online brochure features Darrah Carr Dance.

Using a click-interface through photos and text that enables readers to quickly get a feel for artists and their programs, Ixtlan’s online brochures brochures are also Web based, so there is no need to download the files to view them (although that is an option). The online brochures are easily shareable to a board of directors or colleague.

Umbo Weti by Babatunde Lea
New CD: Umbo Weti by Babatunde Lea

Babatunde Lea releases his new album, Umbo Weti: A Living Tribute to Leon Thomas this September.

The two CD set was recorded at Yoshi’s and features an enhanced video on one track. Babatunde is joined by saxophonist Ernie Watts, bassist Gary Brown, pianist Patrice Rushen, and vocalist Dwight Trible to honor the memory and innovative work of Leon Thomas.

“You don’t hear it a lot. A lot of people have moved on, but his was a very important era in music. He [Leon] laid the ground work for a lot of other vocalists, and he was the first vocalist in the genre to go outside the box, and color outside the lines,” says Babatunde.

One of the most obvious representations of that is Thomas’ track on, “Gold Sunrise on Magic Mountain" from 1970, called Umbo Weti. Umbo Weti is a Pygmy term roughly translated to “This voice is not me, my voice is ancient." Thomas called the phenomenon “soularfone;” the notion that something other, something ancient and universal is housed inside us, and comes through us to share a message.

With Umbo Weti, Babatunde and the jazz quartet experiment with the voice and music of something other, and in true jazz musician fashion, improvise to add their own meanings and nuances.

“Even though there is some arrangement in the music, it is quite open – there’s a theme and then it’s open and we play,” says Brown.

At the end of the day, the project is a way to resurrect and remember what was and is so great about Leon Thomas and jazz.

“It comes to the Heart, it’s all heart to heart,” says Waats. “All people are part of the same energy. So within this music, and communication in this music, we touch a common bond between all things.”

View a clip on the making of Umbo Weti: A Living Tribute to Leon Thomas.

Dirty Linen reviews
Dirty Linen reviews Let the Circle Be Wide by Tommy Sands with Moya and Fíonán

The full review: Music to think about, to learn from, to question, and to enjoy. Songs of connection and humanity, songs of family and love of place, questions of political and social justice, and songs from the Irish tradition all find a natural and welcome place on Tommy Sands’ latest recording. A native of Country Down in Northern Ireland, just across the border from the republic, Sands has long been aware of the power of music to connect and to move people in many ways. Here he celebrates the joy of homecoming on “Carlingford Bay” and tells a funny family story in “Send for Maguire.” “Make Those Dreams Come True” is as inspiring as you might think from the title, while “Time for Asking Why” asks questions about world peace and political decisions, while “The People Have Spoken” brings those questions home to the island of Ireland. Daughter Moya plays fiddle on the recording and takes lead on several songs, including “A Stor Mo Chroi,” while son Fionan plays banjo and mandolin on the disc and adds backing vocals. The close family connection informs and illuminates all the songs, including “Young Man’s Dream,” which is a song developed from an older version of the idea that also led to “Danny Boy,” and the joyous, hopeful title track. Music to think about, to learn from, to question, and to enjoy, this is a fine collection that also shows the next generation of music in the Sands family is in good hands. (Kerry Dexter)

Dirty Linen reviews Rising Fawn Gathering by Boys of the Lough, Norman and Nancy Blake, and James & Rachel Bryan

The full review: Instrumentals range from a 17th century tune from the Shetland Islands, a Northumbrian hornpipe, and Irish fiddle tunes to an Ireland-meets-Texas waltz by mandolin and concertina player Dave Richardson and an original mandolin piece by Blake. A two-decade-long dream was realized by flatpicking guitar, mandolin, and Dobro player and vocalist Norman Blake and his cellist wife, Nancy, when they joined with their longtime fiddler, James Bryan, Bryan’s daughter Rachel, and Celtic band the Boys of the Lough at their home recording studio in Rising Fawn, Georgia. As documented by the dozen tracks on Rising Fawn Gathering, the session was [a] historic bridging of the traditional music of the Celtic Isles and the string bands sounds of the southern Appalachian Mountains. Songs include pre-20th century tunes – “Sweet Sunny South,” “While the Band Is Playing Dixie,” and “The Bonny Bunch of Roses,” sung by Blake, and a traditional ballad about an Irish emigrant to America (“Derry So Fair”), sung by Cathal McConnell. Instrumentals range from a 17th- century tune from the Shetland Islands, a Northumbrian hornpipe, and Irish fiddle tunes to an Ireland-meets-Texas waltz by mandolin and concertina player Dave Richardson and an original mandolin piece by Blake. (CH)

Ixtlan artists on tourOn tour: Kevin Locke, Tommy Sands and his Irish band, Beppe Gambetta, Kevin Locke Native Dance Ensemble, Boys of the Lough.

US tours

Boys of the Lough (from Ireland and Scotland)
Wednesday, March 3 – Sunday, March 28, 2010
Late November – mid December 2010

Beppe Gambetta (from Italy)
Friday, September 11 – Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Wednesday, February 24 – Saturday, April 10, 2010

Kevin Locke Native Dance Ensemble (from US)
Monday, October 5 – Sunday, November 22, 2009
Thursday, January 28 – Sunday, April 20, 2010

Tommy Sands and his Irish band (from Ireland)
Tuesday, September 22 – Monday, October 19, 2009
Friday, January 8 – Sunday, January 31, 2010
Wednesday, February 10 – Monday, March 29, 2010
Thursday, April 15 – Monday, May 31, 2010

All other Ixtlan artists available year-round

Conference logo

Ixtlan Artists conference schedule

Arts Northwest, October 12–15, Boise, Idaho. Booth 74.

APAP, January 8–12, New York, New York. Booth 115, Rhinelander - Level 1.

IPAY, January 18–25, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Ixtlan Artists Group logo

About Ixtlan Artists Group

For more than twenty years, Ixtlan Artists Group has represented virtuoso performers from Europe and the Americas who have a commitment to education and cultural diversity. Founded in 1986 under the name “Joan Sherman Artist Management,” the agency’s original mission of providing excellent folk artists has expanded to traditional world music artists who provide concert and educational experiences that open doorways to universal cultural understanding.

Each artist Ixtlan represents is a premiere talent in their idiom, and they take audiences beyond daily experience into the arena of performance virtuosity rich in cultural traditions. Ixtlan artists speak directly, not only to performance, but to making an impact, on and off the stage.

Through both stage performance and educational outreach, Ixtlan endeavors to provide a venue where performance is used as a bridge to cultural understanding, artistic awareness, educational involvement, and peaceful coexistence of shared ideas.

Ixtlan periodically publishes a digest of the latest news about the artists on its roster.


Kevin Locke nominated for three Nammy awards

Native Peoples magazine review: Earth Gift by Kevin Locke

Kevin Locke receives $100,000 Bush award

Anthony Brown joins Ixtlan roster

Darrah Carr Dance joins Ixtlan Artists roster

New online brochure added for Darrah Carr Dance

New CD: Umbo Weti by Babatunde Lea

Dirty Linen magazine review: Let the Circle Be Wide by Tommy Sands with Moya and Fíonán

Dirty Linen magazine review: Rising Fawn Gathering by Boys of the Lough, Norman & Nancy Blake, James & Rachel Bryan

US tours

Ixtlan conference schedule

About Ixtlan


August 2009
Kevin Locke receives ISMA nomination + New CD from Boys of the Lough + New winter holiday brochures now online + more

August 2008
Kevin Locke releases Earth Gift CD + Guitar master Beppe Gambetta joins Ixtlan roster + more

July 2008
Kevin Locke Native Dance Ensemble awarded NEFA grant + more

June 2008
Tommy Sands releases Let the Circle be Wide CD + Peter Ostroushko releases Peter Goes to the Circus CD + Kevin Locke releases Seven Fires CD + more

May 2008
Tommy Sands and Kevin Locke Native Dance Ensemble showcase at Arts Northwest + more

April 2008
Ixtlan creates new education division + more