Joseph FireCrow, the renowned award winning Native American Flute Man, has been nominated for two major awards at the upcoming Native American Music Awards on May 10.
The 14th Annual Native American Music Awards (NAMA) will take place at the Seneca Niagara Hotel and Casino in Niagara Falls, N.Y., on May 10.
FireCrow (Cheyenne) and his wife/manager Joanne will attend the awards ceremony where he has been nominated again for NAMA’s Artist of the Year Award and for Best Flute Recording for his new album NightWalk. FireCrow has received a number of NAMA Awards (sometimes caled Nammys) over the past 10 years in addition to a Grammy Award for Best Native American Music Album in 2001.
“What’s truly amazing — and very unexpected — is the nomination for Artist of the Year. It really is an honor,” FireCrow told Indian Country Today Media Network. “I know the magnitude of the category. Artist of the Year is the top prize for any songwriter, musician, recording artist to have that award. It’s the last award of the evening.”
FireCrow won both the Artist of the Year and the Flutist of the Year awards in 2010. He said it was an overwhelming experience. “It was totally just like I’d been through a buffalo stampede when they called my name. I was very stunned, surprised and in shock and to walk up there – I mean, I was familiar with the microphone, but . . . it was very surreal and I still can’t say enough about it. So even if I don’t win this Friday night, I know the experience and whoever walks up there – I’m going to be smiling.”
What’s surprising about the nomination is that NightWalk is solely a flute album in the traditional style, FireCrow said. “So to be nominated for Artist of the Year is – you can’t say enough about the true beauty of this instrument and how it conveys not only thought and feeling but it also connects you.”
FireCrow said he’d be “thrilled” to win the NAMA Awards, but he isn’t going to the ceremony with that in mind. “This music is there for the people. It’s really important to maintain focus so in the Cheyenne way you’re humble and generous and honest with it. Each time I perform I give it my best. I’ll close my eyes and let it flow through me. I include the Creator on this one (NightWalk) and the elders, and when we say grandmothers and grandfathers we’re talking way back and the Old Ones, too, and then also into our future granddaughters and grandsons. It brings a smile to my face when I realize that this music is going to be here for them.”
On Saturday, May 4, FireCrow performed at the 27th Annual May Day Festival on the famous elm-lined Green in New Haven where Indian Country Today Media Network caught up with him. The festival is a multi-cultural event that honors and celebrates labor history and the contemporary labor, peace, social service and social justice groups that continue the struggle for peace and human rights. In addition to FireCrow’s compelling traditional Native American flute, music at the festival included punk rock, reggae, acoustic folks, and hip hop.
“We’ve been doing the May Day celebration for four or five years now whenever we’ve been here and able to do it. It’s something we do because we feel we need to be part of the community here in Connecticut. And it’s to get the people aware of this beautiful indigenous culture and songs and stories.”
Joseph FireCrow official site: JosephFireCrow.com.