Performing for the first time outside South Dakota, the South Dakota Symphony Orchestraâ€™s (SDSO) Lakota Music Project will appear in concert at the Smithsonianâ€™s National Museum of the American Indian Oct. 19 at 2 p.m. The concert will feature two Native American Music Award winning artistsâ€”singerÂ EmmanuelÂ Black BearÂ (Oglala Sioux Tribe) andÂ cedar flutistÂ BryanÂ AkipaÂ (Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate)â€”as well as musicians from the symphony orchestra. Free and open to the public, the performance will be held in the museumâ€™s Rasmuson Theater.
The Lakota Music Project is the flagship community-engagement program of the SDSO. In performing Native and non-Native music, the project seeks to create an environment of openness that treats both cultures with dignity and respect.
The performance will include commissioned works by Akipa and Jerod Impichchaachaahaâ€™ Tate (Chickasaw Nation), participants in the SDSOâ€™s Music Composition Academies. The performers will be joined by SDSO Music Director Delta DavidÂ Gier;Â Professor Emeritus of American Indian Studies RonnieÂ Theisz at Black Hills State University;Â and Lakota elder Chris Eagle Hawk.Â
The program includes:
- Two pieces by Jeffrey Paulâ€”â€œPentatonic Fantasy,â€�Â for winds, strings and cedar flute,Â andÂ â€œDesert Wind,â€�Â for wind quintet, Lakota singer and hand drum
- â€œGuide Meâ€�Â by Jerod Impichchaachaahaâ€™ Tate, for string quartet and Lakota singer
- â€œMeadowlarkâ€�Â by BryanÂ Akipa, for cedar flute and wind quintet
- â€œAmazing Grace,â€�Â arranged by TheodoreÂ Wiprud for string quartet, wind quintet and Lakota singer
- Short works written by Native American students of the SDSO CompositionÂ Academies
TheÂ Lakota Music Project was createdÂ between 2005 and 2008 as a collaboration by the SDSOÂ and leaders of the Lakota and Dakota communities. It has been described as a practical demonstration by non-Native and Native American musicians to advance cultural understanding.Â The project strives toÂ create an environment of openness through the fusion and collaborative performanceÂ of music of both cultures. The first Lakota Music Project programs included music written for the full symphony orchestra and the Creekside Singers, a Lakota drumming group.
Native American Music Award-winnerÂ Emmanuel Black Bear said, â€œBeing a part of the Lakota Music ProjectÂ and the Creekside singers brings a lot of honor to our families. UtilizingÂ our traditional songs with orchestraÂ is notÂ something they would normally see. Where we come from [the reservation], people consider us a Third World, lots of hopelessness.Â With the Lakota Music Project,Â we can share our way of life, our traditional ways which bring us to together and offer hopeÂ throughÂ the music. Racial issues exist because of ignorance and not knowing. By showing our way of life, they will understand who we are as a people. We sing a lot of old songs, and so does the orchestra.Â You know, no matter what race you are…itâ€™s the music.â€�
About the National Museum of the American Indian
In partnership with Native peoples and their allies, the National Museum of the American Indian fosters a richer shared human experience through a more informed understanding of Native peoples. The museum in Washington, D.C., is located on the National Mall at Fourth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. and is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Connect with the museum on Facebook,Â Twitter, Instagram and AmericanIndian.si.edu.
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