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The “Native Sounds Downtown!” summer concert series returns to the National Museum of the American Indian, George Gustav Heye Center in New York with a roster of folk musicians: Inkarayku Thursday, June 20; Raye Zaragoza (Akimel O’odham descent) Thursday, July 25; and Samantha Crain (Choctaw) Thursday, Aug. 1. All concerts start at 5 p.m. and take place in the first-floor Diker Pavilion for Native Arts and Cultures. The concerts are free and open to the public.
Named for the Quechua word meaning “because of the Incas,” Brooklyn-based ensemble Inkarayku keeps alive the Indigenous music of the Andes. Led by founder and musical director Andres Jimenez (Quechua), the group seeks to link the past, present and future of Andean arts, through the performance of Indigenous music forms that have evolved into the contemporary mestizo music heard today. Inkarayku’s sound blends the organic power of Quechua folk songs with the energy and edge unique to New York—the city that never sleeps. The band’s diverse lineup brings together a river of musical and artistic experience resulting in Andean folk music that transcends cultural boundaries.
This concert observes Inti Raymi, the Andean festival of the sun, which happens during the South American winter solstice.
Zaragoza is an award-winning singer-songwriter of Akimel O’odham descent. Her debut album, Fight for You (independent, 2017), displays her compassion, commitment to social justice and addresses issues affecting Indian Country, including the effects of the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota.
Her song “In the River,” written in response to the construction of the pipeline, went viral in late 2016, garnering half a million views on the video, national media coverage and a Global Music Award and Honesty Oscar.
Crain (Choctaw) is a singer, songwriter, musician, producer and poet from Oklahoma. Winner of two Native American Music Awards for Folk Album of the Year and Songwriter of the Year, she worked with the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, to compose and contribute music for the exhibition “T.C. Cannon: At the Edge of America,” currently on view at the museum.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian
The National Museum of the American Indian is committed to advancing knowledge and understanding of the Native cultures of the Western Hemisphere—past, present and future—through partnership with Native people and others. The museum’s George Gustav Heye Center is located at One Bowling Green in New York City. For additional information, including hours and directions, visit AmericanIndian.si.edu. Follow the museum via social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and join the conversation using the hashtag #NativeSoundsDowntown.
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