Blogs Category: Native American History

Homegrown Plus Premiere: Pamyua's Modern Yup'ik Drumsongs

We're excited to continue the Homegrown Plus Premiere series with Pamyua, a trio performing traditional Inuit (Yup'ik) drumsongs from Alaska with a distinct and unique American sound. As is usual for the series, this blog post includes an embedded concert video, an interview video, and a set of related links to explore! Together for more than 15 years, Pamyua (pronounced Bum yo-ah) has entertained millions with their fusion of traditional Inuit music and Yup’ik dance performance. Founding members Phillip Blanchett, Stephen Blanchett and Ossie Kairaiuak are from the Yukon/ Kuskokwim River Delta region in southwestern Alaska. Pamyua found national recognition in 2003, winning Record of the Year at the Native American Music Awards, and is now considered a cultural treasure across the circumpolar north. Native People magazine praised their "blizzard of interlocking harmonies" and Alaska magazine rated them "one of the 10 greatest Alaska artists of the millennium." The group has performed at distinguished events worldwide, including the 25th Anniversary of Greenlandic home rule, which was attended by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, and the grand opening of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian.

Homegrown Plus: PIQSIQ Inuit-Style Throat Singing

It's been a while since we posted a Homegrown Plus post! In this ongoing series, we present Homegrown concerts that also had accompanying oral history interviews, placing both videos together in an easy-to-find blog post. We're continuing the series with PIQSIQ, an Inuit style throat singing duo who characterize their style as being "galvanized by darkness and haunting northern beauty." PIQSIQ is composed of sisters Tiffany Kuliktana Ayalik and Kayley Inuksuk Mackay. These talented performers come together to create a unique duo, performing ancient traditional songs along with new compositions. The two grew up in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, with roots in Nunavut, Canada's northernmost territory. After years of hard work on their music, they have developed their own form, blending haunting melodies and otherworldly sounds. As PIQSIQ, they perform their songs with live improvisational looping, creating a dynamic audience experience that changes with every show. In this blog, you'll find their November 2020 concert and their February 2021 oral history interview.

Folklore and Poetry on the Folklife Today Podcast

Season 3, Episode 5 the Folklife Today Podcast is ready for listening! Find it at this page on the Library’s website, or on Stitcher, iTunes, or your usual podcatcher. In this episode, which we release at the close of National Poetry Month, John Fenn and I, along with several guests, look at some of the […]

Homegrown Plus: Nakotah LaRance, 1989-2020

Normally, the Homegrown Plus series is a way to bring together the videos of Homegrown concerts with other information about the artists, including oral history interviews.  This time, however, we have a more solemn duty: to celebrate the life and legacy of Nakotah LaRance, an outstanding Native American hoop dancer from Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, New […]

American Folklife Center Reissues Four Historic LPs

The following guest post by Jennifer Cutting is part of a series of blog posts about the 40th Anniversary Year of the American Folklife Center. Visit this link to see them all! The American Folklife Center (AFC) is pleased to announce the availability online of four titles from our historic series of record albums, Folk […]

Chicago Ethnic Arts Project Goes Online

The following guest post by Ann Hoog is part of a series of blog posts about the 40th Anniversary Year of the American Folklife Center. Visit this link to see them all! The American Folklife Center is pleased to announce a new online presentation of the Chicago Ethnic Arts Project Collection.  The photos and audio […]

More AFC Recordings on the National Recording Registry

In my last post for Folklife Today, I shared some of the great recordings on the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry, a program of the Library that honors historically significant recordings and draws attention to the importance of audio preservation and audio archives in the stewardship of American culture and history. Specifically, I discussed […]

Honoring Vernacular Sounds: AFC Recordings on the National Recording Registry

Last week, the Library announced this year’s inductees to the National Recording Registry.  There, along with classics by The Doors, Radiohead, Steve Martin, and Joan Baez, was a fascinating AFC collection: The Benjamin Ives Gilman Collection Recorded at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition at Chicago. This collection of 101 wax cylinder recordings was created by […]