CSU, Chico News

California Indian Conference Presents John Trudell and Bad Dog in Concert

Date: 10-18-2011

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Pamela Ames
Performance Committee,
California Indian Conference

Chico residents will have a rare opportunity to see John Trudell and Bad Dog live at the El Rey Theater on Thursday, Oct. 27 in a fundraising concert for the 26th Annual California Indian Conference. The 7:30 p.m. concert, the first large conference event, has a bill that includes River Boyz, Neena McNair Family Singers and Feather River Singers.

This year’s conference, Sustaining the Circle of Knowledge, runs from Thursday, Oct. 27 through Sunday, Oct. 30. In addition to the concert and numerous workshops and presentations, several special events are planned, including a California Native basketry exhibit, a master weavers demonstration and a Native fine art display.

John Trudell, poet, actor, recording artist and activist, is a legend in the Native American community, having been a spokesman for the Indian of All Tribes occupation of Alcatraz Island from 1969 to 1971 and a chairman of the American Indian Movement. Trudell and his band, Bad Dog, express fundamental truths through a unique mix of poetry, Native music, blues and rock. Trudell has released eight albums plus a digitally re-mastered collection of his early “Peace Company” cassettes. His latest CD, “Crazier Than Hell,” has a mix of old and new songs that continue the themes of love, life, reality and responsibility that run through all of his poems and songs.

In addition to his music career, Trudell has played roles in a number of feature films, including a lead role in the Mirimax movie “Thunderheart” and a major part in Sherman Alexie's “Smoke Signals.” He also played Coyote in Hallmark's made-for-television movie “Dreamkeeper.”

The RiverBoyz are one of Northern California’s few Native Rap/Hip-Hop/ R&B groups. They have been recording and performing together for two years. They founded RiverBoyz Entertainment LLC in 2011, creating one of Northern California’s first Native owned and operated entertainment companies, with the goal of discovering and producing more Native talent across California. Group members are all Native American, and their music blends modern and traditional sounds.

The Neena McNair Family Singers originally came together as a women’s drumming group to deepen and strengthen the commitment they had to each other and to the healing that comes through the drum. They sing in many different languages, including Lakota, Tsalagi (Cherokee), Seneca, Iroquois, Western Shoshone, Mohawk, Choctaw, Chumash, Maidu and English. “Our intention is to preserve each song's unique message and sound, so the songs will not be forgotten and people will be reminded that Native America is diverse and alive,” said Neena McNair. “We believe the sound of the big drum is also the sound of the heartbeat of our Mother Earth and that through it we can feel that much closer to her and all that gives us life.”

Feather River Singers is a women's drum group that grew out of the Marysville Indian Education Program. The women are California born and raised of Cherokee and mixed descent. Their debut CD "Daughters of the Earth" featured original Cherokee-language songs and earned a Native American Music Award nomination for Debut Artist of the Year. Feather River Singers and Neena McNair Family Singers have collaborated successfully in the past for fundraising events such as Grass Valley's "World of Drumming," a benefit for the nuns in exile from Tibet.

Tickets are available online at http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?dispatch=loadSelectionData&eventId=3855655 or at Diamond W Western Wear in Chico. Tickets are $15 for students and conference attendees and $25 for the general public. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the 26th Annual California Indian Conference, providing additional funds for scholarships, performers and conference costs.

For more information on the conference and the concert, visit http://rce.csuchico.edu/conferences/2011-california-indian-conference/index.asp .