Native Music Rocks and AIS put together incredible lineup

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – As thousands of people flocked to Washington D.C. in anticipation of the inauguration of President Barack Obama, perhaps no one celebrated with more fervor than Indian country.

The festivities will begin Jan. 19 at the Hard Rock Café on D.C.’s “E” street. Native Music Rocks, a new initiative presented in conjunction with the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Hard Rock International arguably will deliver one of the largest arrays of American Indian musical artists in recent history.

Crowds will be able to view artists like Grammy and Native American Music Award winner Micki Free, Nammy winners Keith Secola, Derek Miller and Martha Redbone as well as award-winning country artist Crystal Shawanda, former Cheap Trick member Jon Brant and performances by Shea, Hawk and Levi and the Plateros at Hard Rock Café.

The crowd will also enjoy premier performances by the Seminole Star Search Champions, David Billy, Hank Nelson Jr. and Paula Bowers-Sanchez.

And that’s only the beginning.

On the night following Obama’s inauguration, the American Indian Society’s 11th Inaugural Ball presents an equally impressive lineup as the previous night’s festivities at the Hard Rock Café.

Joanne Shenandoah will open the ball’s events with the National Anthem followed by the Seminole Star Search winners. Michael Bucher, Cherokee musician will start the show with captivating music honoring sacred sites of indigenous people.

“My music is all about the protection of sacred sites and Native burial mounds,” said Bucher. “To be playing with this caliber of musicians and to be playing this night for the people all across Indian country, the people that are my champions, is humbling. To be playing up here having just finished an album with Joanne Shenandoah feels like my message and music is being accepted by my heroes in the business.”

Shenandoah, who is scheduled to performed third at the ball said, “I am extremely proud to present the new recording “Bitter Tears Sacred Ground” with Michael Bucher. Michael is a very talented musician. I first heard him sing at the Nammy awards. I was thrilled to present him with Best Debut Artist. You can feel it in your soul when folks write and sing from their heart.

“We both have a deep appreciation for our ancestors and it is their voice speaking through us in this next recording. Contributions of the Native American have been extremely significant. It is for this reason, I am proud to come and celebrate with the American Indian Society of D.C. This organization has continued to celebrate and support our culture for generations. What an incredible honor!”

The evening will continue with a host of Native musicians that are sure to leave the crowd at the AIS Inaugural Ball awestruck.

Free also serves as director of Seminole Heritage Events and Promotions. Free, the AIS, Seminole Tribal Chairman Mitchell Cypress and Hard Rock International worked closely to assemble an impressive cast of musicians through Native Music Rocks. Free announced the birth of Native Music Rocks in October at the Hard Rock Café in Phoenix, Ariz.

“I am proud first of all that I am part of this along with the Seminole Tribe and the AIS. Native Music Rocks is a Native American All-Star Jam that demonstrates that the contributions and talent of Native American musicians is endless.”

As a platinum-selling artist who has won numerous Native American Music Awards, a Grammy and played with Cheryl Crow, The Police, Eric Clapton and John Mayer, Free brings credibility to his position as director of Seminole Heritage Events and Promotions. When he talks about the importance of Native contributions to the music industry, people listen.

With his influence, Free intends to continue introducing the world to Native music. “At first they wanted to call it Native Music Rock and Roll but I said ‘you can’t pigeon-hole Native music.’ We decided to call it Native Music Rocks because all Native music rocks, whether it is flute or drums or whatever.”

In a news release, Seminole Heritage Events and Promotions said Native Music Rocks is an important call to action to other tribal nations and leaders to support Native musicians at their casinos, hotels and special event venues.

If events like these continue to come from the Seminole Heritage Events and Promotions and Native Music Rocks, with a list of artists this impressive, the initiative’s success will likely continue.