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NAMMY ballots feature 77 Native Artists

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NEW YORK - Mary Youngblood and Robert Tree Cody top the list of nominees for the Third Annual Native American Music Awards, with seven nominations each on its just released ballots.

Another 75 Indian musicians with 1999 releases are competing in the NAMMYs' 25 categories, ranging from traditional to rap/hip hop. Ballots are on the way to the public through newspapers, various outlets and the NAMA Web site. Winners will be announced at the awards show Nov. 11 at Popejoy Hall in Albuquerque, N.M.

The NAMMYs, said director and founder Ellen Bello, "help America remember its heritage, honor its unique culture and celebrate its achievements."

Other multiple nominees include John Trudell, Robert Mirabal and Sharon Burch, with five each. Named in four categories are Andrew Vasquez, R. Carlos Nakai, Litefoot and Lunar Drive.

Six more, including three groups, scored a triplet: Alice Gomez, Judy Trejo, Kevin Locke, Brule, Clandestine and Keith Secola & Wild Band of Indians.

In NAMA's third year of archiving recordings and receiving nominations from members, the range of performers on its list continues to broaden. From the traditional side, with the Black Lodge Singers and the peyote ritual chanters Primeaux & Mike, it runs through the blues group Indigenous and new-ager Paul Horn to newcomer Connie Dover, a Celtic singer of Cherokee and Mexican heritage.

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Tickets for the award show, which has sold out two years in a row, go on sale Sept. 11 at $35 and $50.

In addition to putting on the show, the non-profit Native American Music Association offers scholarships and professional training for young musicians, artists, and song writers seminars and an archive of audio and video releases.

In the past year it distributed more than $4,000 in scholarships to tribal students at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, N.M., and sponsored its first artist seminar, along with the National Music Publishers Association and the Harry Fox Agency, Bello said.

The association also located an inherited song of the Apache leader, Geronimo, lost since 1907, and returned it to his family, she added.

The NAMA archive now contains more than 3,500 hours of recordings and Bello calls it the nation's largest collection of contemporary Indian music.

NAMA plans to offer a fifth anniversary program as part of the Cultural Olympiad during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.