The 2011 Native American Music Awards – MANNYs - were held October 7 at the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel in Niagara Falls, New York. This year marks the fourth year for the NAMMY’s in Niagara Falls and the thirteenth annual awards show celebrating the best in music from members of the First Nations. In 2011 over 200 CDs and DVDs were submitted for nomination consideration for the first time in history; offering music in a variety of styles from traditional to contemporary.
The night of music and celebration began with tradition as the hosting Seneca tribe opened the night with words to the Creator. The Iroquois dancers followed with the Women’s Dance, and although the tribes are not at war, they are trying to keep the peace with New York, the men demonstrated the War Dance. The fast paced Smoke Dance followed, with the women showing that they could dance as good as the guys with the Women’s Smoke Dance. The dancers completed the official welcome with the Stick Dance.
The first award of the evening was not for music or dancing but to a sportsman for his years of service to the world of hockey as a professional player with the Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins and later as a coach including taking the Buffalo Sabres and turning them into a championship caliber team; and currently as the head coach for the Latvian National hockey team. The Jim Thorpe Sports Award went to, who also served as the host for the evening’s festivities.
The music performances of the night began with Alaska’s own Marc Brown and the Blues Crew. The Crew kicked things off with “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”. For the past 16 years the Blues Crew has been filling houses, including the Las Vegas House of Blues and BB King’s in Hollywood, and opening for the likes of the Fabulous Thunderbirds,, the J. Geils Band and Jethro Tull.
The first induction to the Native American Music Association – NAMA – Hall of Fame went to. Edwards began his musical career at age five with the guitar. By eleven there wasn’t a string instrument Nokie couldn’t play, but he stuck with the guitar. In 1959 Edwards became one third of the trio known as The Ventures; a group that went on to sell over 100 million records around the world and record such hits as “Wipe Out”, “Pipeline”, and the theme to original television series “Hawaii Five-O”. Edwards is also a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a part of The Ventures.
She is just 13 years old, but Dylan Jenet Collins has starred on Broadway as a young Nala in “The Lion King” and entertained Presidentnot once but twice; first at the Democratic National Convention in Denver and again as the Presidential Neighbourhood Ball as a part of President Obama’s inauguration. As a performer at the 2011 NAMMY’s Dyan showed her diversity by singing “Rolling in the Deep” and “Forget You”.
Native drummers Pipestone kept the night lively with their version of some traditional drum songs that included some humourous original lyrics.
Joining Nokie Edwards as the newest members of the NAMA Hall of Fame is seven time NAMMY winner Keith Secola. Secola is a multi talented guitarist, flutist, singer, songwriter, composer, and producer whose song NDN Kars is the most requested and played song on Native American radio. When not entertaining fans with his music, Secola is campaigning for Native American Rights and environmental concerns.
NAMMY Award winner Gabriel Ayala entertained the crowd performing classical music on the guitar. Ayala was the only multi award winner this year with two awards.
New NAMA Hall of Fame inductee Keith Secola premiered the new video for his song “Say Your Name”.
The first Native American master ventriloquist and puppeteer Buddy Big Mountain and his friend the cowboy provided some comedy after the audience returned from a short break.
Joseph Firecrow presented Operation Music Art – an organization that provides musical instruments to wounded veterans to aid in the healing process – with a guitar and a Native flute.
NAMA Hall of Fame inductee Nokie Edwards gives a special performance of a medley of songs including the theme from “Hawaii Five-O”.
Keith Secola gave a performance that included some of his fellow NAMMY performers and dancers that had the crowd joining in.
The final performance of the evening came from NAMA Hall of Fame member Janice Marie Johnson from the Grammy Award winning and platinum selling group A Taste of Honey. Janice performed the Taste of Honey smash hit “Boogie Oogie Oogie” and had the house dancing and singing along for a rocking conclusion to the night.