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A woman sings into a microphone and plays a frame drum.
Charly Lowry sings and plays in the Coolidge Auditorium, November 9, 2023. Photo by Doug Peach.

Homegrown Plus: Charly Lowry

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We’re continuing the Homegrown Plus series with a thrilling concert by Charly Lowry, a dynamic singer-songwriter from Pembroke, North Carolina. An Indigenous woman belonging to the Lumbee and Tuscarora Tribes, she considers her work a platform for raising awareness around issues that plague underdeveloped and underserved Native communities. As usual for this series, you’ll find a concert video, an interview video, and a set of links to explore.

Charly Lowry is a songwriter who accompanies herself on acoustic and electric guitars and Native American hand drum. She earned a semi-finalist spot on season 3 of American Idol, and tours solo and as the frontwoman for the multi award-winning band, “Dark Water Rising.” Most recently, Lowry and the members of her newest project “Charly & The Sunshine” were selected by the U.S. Department of State and American Music Abroad to participate in their 2021-2022 Season. Lowry is guided by her life experiences to focus her music career on increasing Indigenous visibility on a global scale. She serves as a voice for her ancestors, as well as the youth of today, and remains committed to music that honors roots but lives vibrantly in the here and now by revitalizing and preserving her own culture while exploring her own genre of World/Folk/Native-Contemporary Fusion music.

Charly Lowry says that she is guided by her life experiences to focus her music career on increasing Indigenous visibility on a global scale. She serves as a voice for her ancestors, as well as the youth of today, and remains committed to music that honors roots but lives vibrantly in the here and now by revitalizing and preserving her own culture while exploring her own genre of World/Folk/Native-Contemporary Fusion music.

For this concert, Lowry was accompanied by Derek Miller (guitar), Andrew Ferrier MacKay (drums), and Gary Rugala (bass).  See the concert in the player below!

In the interview, I was joined by Megan Nicholas, who is both an AFC folklife specialist and a woman of Indigenous heritage. Together we spoke with Charly about both music and social issues. Musically, we asked about her approaches to songwriting and to the Native American drum, traditionally a male instrument; we asked about her mentors and influences, including Pura Fé; and we asked about her experience as a youthful contestant on American Idol. Politically, we discussed issues facing her Lumbee and Tuscarora communities; she told us about her experiences with health care and illness; and we asked generally about her activism. Both Meg and I were interested to know about Charly’s combination of activism and art, which she encapsulates in the term “artivist.” Watch the interview in the player below! 

Collection Connections and Links

If you enjoyed the concert and interview, check out the Collection Connections below. You’ll find links to archival collections, guides, and other materials related to Lumbee and other Indigenous and Native music and culture.

A woman sings into a microphone
Charly Lowry sings in the Coolidge Auditorium, November 9, 2023. Photo by Doug Peach.

Blogs Highlighting Native Collections and Events

Find all our blogs with Indigenous American content at this link.

Online Collections

Omaha Indian Music
Ancestral Voices (Native American Cylinder Recordings)
Maine Acadian Cultural Survey Collection

Native American materials in the Maine Acadian Cultural Survey Collection

Buckaroos in Paradise: Ranching Culture in Northern Nevada, 1945 to 1982

Native American materials in the Buckaroos in Paradise Collection

Montana Folklife Survey Collection

Native American materials in the Montana Folklife Survey Collection

Rhode Island Folklife Survey Collection

Native American materials in the Rhode Island Folklife Survey Collection

Chicago Ethnic Arts Project Collection

Native American materials in the Chicago Ethnic Arts Project Collection

Videos

Find all AFC’s event videos featuring Indigenous American content at this link.

Many Thanks

Thanks for watching and listening! Remember, the concert was part of the Library’s celebration of Native American Heritage Month.

Find out more about the concert at this link.

Find the whole Homegrown Plus series here.

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