Thursday, 6 August 2015

Buffy Sainte-Marie says headdresses are 'painful' as fashion trend

Buffy Sainte-Marie has seen fashion-conscious fans show up to concerts wearing headdresses as a trendy statement -- and she's seen enough.

"When it comes to things like headdresses, there are some things that are actually, factually, personally, deeply cultural to our heritage," Sainte-Marie said in an interview in Toronto this week.

"To some guy who's got models in high heels, bikini bottoms, pasties and a big headdress, and everybody's drunk -- I want people to understand why that is painful or disgusting, why that is negative to us.

"It'd be like if you really loved your grandmother or your mom and all of a sudden you're watching wrestling on TV and you see your mom's picture on some wrestler's crotch.

"It's inappropriate. It's not funny. It doesn't help."

For the past few years, headdresses have become a popular -- and controversial -- fashion accessory. The trend seems to rear its ugly head with particular frequency at summer music festivals.

Recently, festivals have fought back against the misguided trend. Osheaga, WayHome, Boots and Hearts, Heavy Montreal, Ile Soniq and the Edmonton Folk Festival have all issued bans in various forms on the fake indigenous headwear.

Still, Sainte-Marie says the trend endures.

"We see it a lot in Europe, especially in Germany," said Sainte-Marie, who was recently shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize for her fiery album "Power in the Blood."

"You see these people showing up and they have handmade, craftsy, fake headdress-like things, and they somehow think they're paying us a compliment.

"But we let them know."

Still, Sainte-Marie -- the decorated owner of an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA, a Gemini and two Juno Awards -- stops short of calling for an outright ban.

She just wants anyone donning a headdress to understand how it will make an aboriginal person feel.

"I don't tell people what to do," she said.

"If you're still going to be a jerk, that's OK, but we want you to know that there are some things that are part of our cultural heritage that mean a lot to us.

"I think it's mostly ignorance," she added. "I think most people who are doing that probably haven't given it much thought."

Buffy Sainte-Marie Interview - Article originally published at

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Buffy Sainte-Marie performs at Manitoulin Country Fest on 7 August - Canada

Hope to see you at Manitoulin Country Fest

Fri August 7, 2015 - 3:30 PM

Buffy Sainte-Marie

Little Current, Canada, 2015

Manitoulin Country Fest

Street Little Current, Canada

Gates Open 3:30pm, Set Time TBD

The 9th annual Manitoulin Country Fest coming up this weekend is shaping up to be one you won’t want to miss.

This year’s lineup includes Leah Daniels, Beverley Mahood and Johnny Reid Thursday (August 6) night; Me and Mae, Lindsay Broughton, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Tom Cochrane with Red Rider on Friday; Naomi Bristow, Genevieve Fisher, Tristan Horncastle, The Boom Chucka Boys, Autumn Hill and Gord Bamford on Saturday night; and Jack Connolly and the Canucky Blue Grass Boys on Sunday.

More Info And Ticket 

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Lifetime Achievement Awards Announced For Americana Music Awards

The Americana Music Association announces the selection of Buffy Sainte-Marie, Don Henley, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, Ricky Skaggs and Los Lobos as Lifetime Achievement Award winners to be presented at its 14th Annual Honors & Awards ceremony, presented by Nissan, on Wednesday, Sept. 16 at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Each of these artists will perform and the show will be taped for air on PBS later in the year.

Buffy Sainte-Marie will receive the Spirit of Americana Award, Free Speech in Music co-presented with the First Amendment Center. Since the 1960s, Buffy Sainte-Marie has been arguably the world’s most visible and vocal Native North American folk singer and social activist, but she’s been so much more, including a visual artist with a PhD in fine art, an educator and a philanthropist. She is a Cree Indian from Saskatchewan who was raised as an adopted daughter in Massachusetts. She became a prominent artist on the folk music circuit, appearing on Pete Seeger’s Rainbow Quest, The Johnny Cash Show and even Soul Train. Her songs wrestle honestly with politics, war and identity. At her most effective, she’s blended personal conscience with philosophical perspective, as with the remarkable song “Universal Soldier.” Sainte-Marie remains outspoken and energetic to this day; she’s back on tour with the new album Power In The Blood, her first studio project in seven years.

Don Henley will be presented with the Lifetime Achievement Trailblazer Award. With a career that helped take the Eagles to the stratosphere and a string of scintillating, hit-producing solo albums, Don Henley is an icon of California-tinged country/rock and thus Americana music itself. Henley was raised in northeast Texas — a fact celebrated on his rootsy new 2015 collection Cass County. Arriving in Los Angeles after college, he joined Glenn Frey in Linda Ronstadt’s band, forging the core of The Eagles, which launched its epic career in 1971. Henley collaborated with Frey, JD Souther, Jackson Browne and others on hits such as “Desperado,” “Take It To The Limit,” and “Tequila Sunrise.” During the Eagles’ long hiatus in the 80s and 90s, he was the most successful solo artist to emerge from the band, and while his sound leaned harder on modern rock, he also continued to work with country artists including Ronnie Dunn, Trisha Yearwood and Alison Krauss. Henley took on environmental issues in the 1990s, founding the Walden Woods Project and the Caddo Lake Institute for ecological education and research. He’s been a prominent voice for artists’ rights in the recording industry as well.

The Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting goes to Gillian Welch & David Rawlings. When the duo’s first album, Revival, appeared in 1996, it was a shock wave on the American music landscape. With songs like “Orphan Girl,” folk and bluegrass suddenly had exemplars and stars who were young and worldly, traditional and innovative, and who foreshadowed a new generation with interest in and respect for roots music and its many offshoots. Since then, their songwriting has graced seminal albums of the last two decades including O Brother, Where Art Thou? (“Didn’t Leave Nobody But The Baby”) and their own, Time (The Revelator). Their songs exemplify the breadth of Americana music and have been recorded by Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris, Solomon Burke, Jimmy Buffet, Z.Z. Top, Joan Baez, and The Punch Brothers. Their timeless tunes have also found their way to campfires and parking lot pickers everywhere. Now, six records and two decades into their career, the songwriting team of Welch & Rawlings has created a catalog that we will cherish and sing for generations.

Ricky Skaggs will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award as an Instrumentalist. The 1990s revival of bluegrass music depended on a number of indispensible things happening almost at once, and one of those was Ricky Skaggs assertively returning to his Kentucky roots. His wide ranging musicianship and deep feeling for mountain music had been on display from his appearance at age six on the Flatt & Scruggs TV show, and it carried on through career stages with Ralph Stanley and Keith Whitley and then to country radio, where he helped fuel a timely neo-traditionalist movement. Skaggs’ country records and his road bands were charged with top flight picking, including his own on mandolin, an instrument he studied at the feet of Bill Monroe himself. In the years since his era-shaping Bluegrass Rules album came out, he’s promoted the art of the bluegrass instrumental and collaborated with unexpected instrumentalists, such as Bruce Hornsby, with unexcelled evangelism and craft.

In the category of Lifetime Achievement in Performance, the honor goes to Los Lobos. Far more than “just another band from East L.A.” as an early album title promised, Los Lobos changed the look, sound and language of roots music, making it more inclusive and reflective of the American story. The founding four members, Cesar Rojas, David Hidalgo, Louie PĂ©rez and Conrad Lozano, plus early addition Steve Berlin, have made music of consistent searching fusion since the mid-1970s. The band’s career was bolstered, but by no means defined, by their chart-topping 1987 cover of “La Bamba” for a movie soundtrack. By negotiating a space between traditional Mexican song, L.A. rock and classic soul, Los Lobos nurtured an identity that’s been adventuresome and unifying.

“These artists have not only influenced the Americana community, but the musical landscape on the whole,” said Jed Hilly, Executive Director of the Americana Music Association, “they all have been an inspiration to our community and we are humbled they will honor us in song at the Ryman this fall.”

Monday, 3 August 2015

Buffy Sainte-Marie performs at the Brooklyn Bowl, London, on 13 August

Folk. Country. Protest Anthems. Love songs. Pop hits. Academy Award Winner for her timeless hit “Up Where We Belong” Buffy Sainte-Marie brings her honest and raw musical canon to Brooklyn Bowl for a rare intimate London appearance.

Buffy Sainte-Marie’s bold new album, Power in the Blood, begins where it all started more than 50 years ago, with a contemporary version of “It’s My Way,” the title track of her 1964 debut. Its message, about the road to self-identity and the conviction to be oneself, still resonates with the Cree singer-songwriter, activist, educator, visual artist, and winner of countless awards (Oscar, Juno, and Golden Globe, among them).

Perhaps you know Sainte-Marie from her 1960s protest anthems (“Universal Soldier”), open-hearted love songs (“Until It’s Time for You to Go”), incendiary powwow rock (“Starwalker”), or the juggernaut pop hit “Up Where We Belong,” which Sainte-Marie co-wrote and Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes sang for the soundtrack to An Officer and a Gentleman.

Event Info Venue Information: Brooklyn Bowl London Peninsula Square London, United Kingdom, SE10 0DX

More Info Power in the Blood also includes odes to the sanctity of life ("We Are Circling") and the splendor of Mother Nature ("Carry It On," a song so euphoric and empowering that it should be taught in schools and performed at the Olympics).

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Buffy Sainte-Marie On World Cafe

The singer-songwriter, a hitmaker in the '60s, talks about her long and complex songwriting legacy.

At 74, Buffy Sainte-Marie still has the passion of her youth on her new album Power In The Blood.

Sainte-Marie also won a Grammy and an Oscar for her part in writing "Up Where We Belong," recorded by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes for the 1982 film An Officer And A Gentleman.

Here, she performs a cross-section of her material and sits down with World Cafe to discuss her older songs, how she learned about being blacklisted, and what drives her to keep writing and advocating for underserved people now.

Via Npr Music

Friday, 19 June 2015

Buffy Sainte-Marie Talks 2016 Election & 'Power In the Blood'

Interview with Buffy Sainte-Marie via Bilboard

We're premiering the video for the title track to your new album [above]. It's a cover of the British rock/electronic band Alabama 3's "Power In the Blood." How did you stumble upon this song?

Well, Alabama 3 did The Sopranos theme song, 'Woke Up This Morning," which is why I started watching the show -- I couldn't get it out of my head. So I've been a fan for a long time. Of course, there are a lot of songs called "Power in the Blood" -- it goes back to Gospel songs -- but when I heard theirs, I just loved the energy of it. I found out last year they were huge fans of mine, and I'm a huge fan of theirs, so I told them, "This will make a great peace song." They laughed, but I changed the words around [Their "I will be ready for war" becomes "I will say no, no, no to war"]. My version is a laundry list of contemporary issues that are challenging everyone right now. It's the age old racketeering problem that's been going on since before the Old Testament. The Roman Empire, the Inquisition -- the whole notion of rackets, where a few guys make a fortune and everyone else is exploited. And it's everything -- it's in the banks, it's in the tanks, in the military, the food supply, the college of business.... The business model at the moment is kind of fraud: Take as much as you can get and give back the least you can. It's a big, huge racket that everyone is seeing with new eyes now. "Power In the Blood" is a double entendre. On one end, it's the power of the feudal system to hurt and exploit us. The other power is the power in our brains to survive and evolve beyond this. To balance that with what we need -- common sense and respect for nature and each other.

Your video takes on so many topics, it's almost overwhelming. Are you hopeful about the future, or do you think we're basically just doomed at this point?

Oh no, I don't think the planet is doomed at all. Rackets come full bloom now and again because the rest of us are lazy and don't do anything about it. But now that eyes and ears are open, there's a lot we can do. But I think that what we're showing in the video is on people's minds. I feel lucky as a songwriter -- and as a cast member of Sesame Street for five and a half years -- because I deal with the three-and-a-half-minute attention span. As a songwriter I get to encapsulate big ideas into few words. Of course, those songs never make me any money -- my big moneymakers have always been love songs. "Up Where We Belong," "Until It's Time For You to Go." But with these songs, you have to be quick, engaging and invite people to get to know more.

I wanted to ask about "Up Where We Belong" -- that won you an Oscar for its inclusion in An Officer and a Gentleman. Joe Cocker, who sang it along with Jennifer Warnes, recently passed. Did you know him well?

Well, I had written that melody at home. Jack Nitzsche, who was scoring the movie, didn't have theme song yet. He asked me what I had, I played him the melody and that's how that happened. I met Joe, but we never worked together. But wasn't he wonderful? I was just doing arena tours with Morrissey in Wales, Ireland and England, and we mentioned Joe before doing the song.

How was touring with Morrissey?

Very interesting. He has a fantastic band. I love his band. I think he was not feeling well -- we didn't see too much of each other. But their crew is impeccable, the band is fantastic -- and we had a lot of laughs with them. And of course Morrissey and I are both very much against the cruelty against factory animals.

Your new album features electronics, which I have to say surprised me, being familiar mostly with your folk stuff.

Well, you gotta back up before you were born. I was doing electronic music in the '60s. I made the first-ever totally electronic, quadraphonic vocal album in history. 1969, Illuminations. Folk music people held their nose and walked the other way -- and once I was blacklisted in the U.S., a lot of people didn't hear my electronic music. But about 15 years ago Wired magazine named that one of 100 albums that set the world on fire. But electronic music I got into very early. When the Macintosh came out in 1984, I had one of the pre-issue Macintoshes. So I've been doing it a very long time, but a lot of the U.S. audience wasn't hearing it. But Illuminations is old, get Running for the Drum, you might like that, it has a lot of electronics on it. But Illuminations was interesting -- especially my song "God Is Alive, Magic is Afoot."

A lot of '60s musicians avoid the Internet like the plague. They even fear it. But not you.

I was teaching digital music and art in the '80s in colleges. But that's not the kind of thing that's gonna make headlines. I had one of the very first websites in Hawaii in the '80s, but nobody cared. Almost no one was online in those days. I saw the value of computers as recording tools, whether you're making music or brushstrokes. No one was interested until they smelled money -- then it became a stampede. I was telling record companies about it in the '80s, but they just saw it as a typewriter. They would say, "Oh, my girl handles that." They were way behind, and consequently the record business has lost out.

The Internet has also been key for a lot of social movements, like Occupy Wall Street.

And Idle No More, which I mention on my album, has definitely been helped by social media.

That movement (Idle No More protests abuses against Indigenous peoples and treaty violations in Canada) seems to be gaining traction.

The thing is, it doesn't want traction -- it doesn't want to be around forever. It's a genuine grassroots movement based on a resistance that's been going on for hundreds of years. On days that are slow, people pay attention to it. When people are busy, not as much. But Idle No More has made a difference as part of the American Indian resistance movement.

This is something you know a lot about -- are there any books you can recommend for someone who might be curious to learn more?

There's a very interesting book called In the Spirit of Crazy Horse that ties contemporary stuff to the history of the Lakota in South Dakota. Charles Mann has a very interesting book out now called 1491. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee will break your heart, but you probably ought to read it. And a new one, which is quite scholarly, is called An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz.

You re-record "It's My Way" on your new album. That's a 51-year-old song -- do you still relate to it?

Yeah, pretty much. The song is about my road or path, but really what I'm trying to do is encourage uniqueness in the listener. Uniqueness is the undersold quality that all of us are looking for, but no one says it. But we should be creating new things every day: New attitudes, new communities, new ways of looking at things. But there are always people who want you to work for them, to draw more coins into their organization. And it's silly.

There was a lot of optimism after the '60s about that way of thinking -- but then corporate mentality came back with a vengeance.

I think it comes in waves. You think you're rid of certain things in the '60s, then everybody goes to sleep on it, buys a station wagon, has three kids, blab la bla. And you turn around and there it is again. There's always been racketeers -- and there probably always will be. But what makes a difference is whether we go along with them or not. They stepped back in the '60s when a whole lot of people said, "No, I'm not going to your war." That was a big deal.

That's true. But there was a draft then.

That's true, there's not a draft now. But in the '60s we had the grassroots students movement. Now we have social media and the Internet. There's a lot of information being exchanged, a lot of people seeking education about stuff that was kept from us before.

Do you have thoughts on Hillary in 2016?

Not yet, I don't. I haven't made a decision, I'm still watching. But I'm not much of a hawk myself. So I'm doing a lot of looking and listening. But no matter who gets elected, politics is a greasy pipe. I'm cynical about it in any country. Your responsibility as a citizen, or someone who wants a better world, doesn't stop the day after you vote. That's when you really have to get on the case -- because you've probably put some very wealthy person into a position of huge power. And somebody is going to lead them down the wrong creek unless you steer. And that's the basic citizenship that all of us hate, but it's gotta be done.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Buffy Sainte-Marie Says the Internet Is the 21st Century Coffee House

Buffy Sainte-Marie, on tour to promote her newly released 18th record Power In the Blood, has been around a while. She's seen alternative ideas develop and fade, and she's seen activism ebb and flow. But when she surveys the scene today, she is optimistic.

Sainte-Marie reckons the internet might just be the millennial version of the bohemian coffee house, something she says was crucial in the development of the '60s counterculture. And, as a veteran of the hip scenes of the '60s — she penned some of the most popular anthems to emerge from the Greenwich Village and Yorkville folk communities — she knows of which she speaks.

Those storied coffee houses "were very important," she stresses. Why? Because they were all about access and diversity. Not unlike the web.

"For the student movement of the 1960s," she tells Exclaim!, "the fact that there were coffee houses meant that young people could get together. I mean, young people couldn't get in anyplace where you needed a liquor license. And coffee anyways — it's talk, talk, talk, listen, listen, listen."

The 74-year-old Canadian-born Cree artist has spent the better part of the past 50 years touring, playing music and working to make the world a better place. An Indigenous rights activist, a fervent environmentalist and a caustic critic of militarism, Sainte-Marie was blacklisted by two successive U.S. governments and was monitored by the FBI for much of her adult life. So, when she talk, talk, talks about stuff, we should probably listen, listen, listen.

Back in the old coffee house scenes, she recalls, "it wasn't only onstage with performers and audiences [connecting with each other] but it was also in the streets. People were listening to each other. People were speaking up. It was hip to have a point of view. (I was almost going to say opinion, but it was really a point of view.) And I think it had a lot to do with coffee being around! I do! It really was attractive to high school students, college students, and people on the street… and coffee houses weren't 'le show-biz' where you had to dress it up."

It was in these democratic spaces, Sainte-Marie emphasizes, where the music, the ideas, and the "points of view" were exchanged. "It was such a great time. But for a long time it was really that 'the suits' got back in charge and we wondered 'Where did it all go?"

"But," she reminds us, "now we have the internet."
 Via Exclaim.Ca