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First Nations Composer Initiative round III grant recipients named

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SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Nine grants ranging from $3,500 to $7,500 have been awarded to American Indian/indigenous musical artists in the third round of grant making of the First Nations Composer Initiative, a program of the American Composers Forum. The awards are made under the Common Ground Grant program, funded with the support of the Ford Foundation;s IllumiNation portfolio.

The FNCI program is dedicated to serving the needs of American Indian/Alaska Native/First Nations/indigenous makers of new music throughout Indian country. The FNCI is committed to supporting activities that build the careers of indigenous creative musicians, including commissions, residencies, performance/production, travel/study and outreach.

The following are the Third Round 2008 Common Ground grant recipients:

*Alaska Native Heritage Center, Alaska. Genre: classical. Funding will be used for fees of the Anchorage Chamber Orchestra's performance of an original Native Alaskan musical piece at the National Museum of the American Indian's Classical Native venue.

*Arvel Bird, Southern Paiute/Metis, Tennessee. Genre: classical/traditional/multicultural. Funding will support the completion of an orchestral recording project called ''Tribal Music Suite-Concerto for Violin and Native American Flutes.''

*Cournoyer Kim, Lakota, North Dakota. Genre: band music - director of the Standing Rock High School Marching Band. Funding will support Phase 1 of the Share the Fame Trail Tour to showcase music and dance based on Lakota cultural history in reservation and urban locations throughout the U.S.

*Brent Michael Davids, Mohican, Minnesota. Genre: classical/traditional. Funds will be used for commission fees to compose a solo work for pianist Emanuele Arciuli. This new piece, titled ''Sky Bear,'' will loosely recall the story of the Great Sky Bear (the changing of the seasons) from a traditional Mohican perspective.

*Emmett ''Shkeme'' Garcia, Tamaya/Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico. Genre: reggae/traditional. Funding for recording, promotion and distribution of the Pueblo Traditional Songs CD Project and community engagement activities directed at positively impacting Native youth.

*Sean Komonaseak, Inupiaq, Alaska. Genre: traditional. Funding to support travel to the ninth annual Kingikmiut Dance Festival in the village of Wales.

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*Marcus Frejo-Little Eagle, Pawnee/Seminole, Oklahoma. Genre: hip hop/traditional. Funding to be used for three self-produced music projects and tours throughout Indian country, hip hop events and multicultural leadership conferences and community outreach activities.

*Morgan Fawcett-Strang, Tlingit, Oregon. Genre: traditional flute. Funding will be used for a professional recording of his and community Native youths' flute music, mentoring and community engagement activities.

*Jimmy Wolf, Mohawk, New York. Genre: blues/rock/soul. Funding used for recording, promotion and distribution of original music.

Panelists for the third round were:

*Timothy Archambault, Kichesipirini, American Indian flutist. He studied music theory at Brown University and holds a bachelor's degree in architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design. His repertoire consists of early 20th century American Indian flute music and new compositions by American Indian composers. Archambault was the first flute player in history to perform the old ''warble'' technique within the context of new classical compositions at the Smithsonian's Museum of the American Indian Classical Native Series in November 2006.

As a hereditary senator of the Kichesipirini Algonquin First Nation, he is currently working on re-establishing their musical heritage through community-based instructional Web sites in conjunction with North American ethnomusicologists.

*Joy Harjo was born in Tulsa, Okla., and is a member of the Mvskoke (Creek) Nation. Her seven books of poetry include ''She Had Some Horses,'' ''The Woman Who Fell From the Sky'' and ''How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems.'' Her poetry has garnered many awards, including a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Award, the New Mexico Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America.

She has released three award-winning CDs of original music and performances: ''Letter from the End of the Twentieth Century,'' ''Native Joy for Real'' and ''She Had Some Horses.'' She has received the Eagle Spirit Achievement Award for overall contributions in the arts, from the American Indian Film Festival.

Harjo performs internationally solo and with her band, Joy Harjo and the Arrow Dynamics Band (for which she sings and plays saxophone), and premiered a preview of her one-woman show, ''Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light,'' at the Public Theater in New York City in December 2007.

*George Quincy was born and raised in Oklahoma and is of Choctaw heritage. He has two degrees from The Julliard School and later taught there, became musical adviser to Martha Graham, and went on to compose, orchestrate and conduct music for theater, dance, film, opera and television. His music has been performed in a variety of prestigious venues. He develops the emotional and cultural fusion of classical music and Choctaw sounds in his personal artistic journey. He has received awards from ASCAP in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2004, and many from Meet The Composer.