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Sufjan Stevens' Soundtrack to Cowboys and Natives at Pendleton Round-Up

Watch the trailer for this unusual artistic look at a beloved showcase of rodeo riding and Native pageantry.
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Singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens is currently staging a performance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music that combines slow-motion footage from the Pendleton Round-Up with a soundtrack played live by Stevens and four other musicians.

Titled "Round-Up," the work documents an annual event that is notable for the high level of Tribal involvement; Pendleton, Oregon, is just down the road from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, home to the Umatilla, Cayuse and Walla Walla Tribes. For a full history of the event, check out "Pendleton Round-Up: The Wild West Way" at the Oregon Public Broadcastig website.

The footage for "Round-Up," which opened January 20th and runs through the 25th, was shot by brothers Alex and Aaron Craig, and Stevens' collaborators on stage are a group called Yarn/Wire, consisting of two pianists and two percussionists. A Flavorwire reviewer offered calm praise for Stevens' creation of "something that celebrated traditions like calf roping and Indian relay racing with a distinctly outsider perspective that neither claimed it as its own nor shunned it as barbaric." Jon Pareles of the New York Times was even calmer, calling the show "pleasant but not revelatory."

Here's the trailer: