June 28 - Martha Redbone Roots Project – “The Garden of Love”

“In a brilliant collision of cultures, the powerful blues and soul singer Martha Redbone has recorded an album called The Garden of Love: Songs of William Blake, which was produced by John McEuwen, of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. In it, the mystical, humanistic words of the eighteenth-century English poet are fused with the melodies, drones, and rhythms of the Appalachian string-band music that she absorbed as a child from her grandparents, in Black Mountain, Kentucky”. – The New Yorker

“Martha Redbone’s journey back to the source of American music — and to her own heritage — has conjured up an artistic triumph. The Garden Of Love poignantly reveals a musician at the top of her game, vocally, intellectually, and spiritually. One not only hears the voice of the Bard, in this case William Blake’s legendary prose arranged and phrased brilliantly, but also the very origins of American music arising from the blend of American Indian, African American, and English folk music traditions. It’s the dawn of a new day for this fascinating artist, and we’re all the beneficiaries of her confident, and yet sensitive, quest.”-Tim Johnson, Director of the Smithsonian Institute; National Museum of the American Indian

Alongside her career as a recording artists and songwriter, Martha Redbone has maintained a steady involvement with causes she believes in utilizing her celebrity in Indian Country for fundraising and leadership. Ms. Redbone holds an annual Traditional Music Workshop within the United Houma Nation’s  Cultural Enrichment Summer Camp program teaching grade school children the music from her Choctaw and Cherokee heritage as well as incorporating the tribe’s own Houma-French language.

Martha has given talks on subjects ranging from Indigenous rights to the role if arts in politics at many institutions including New York University, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and on Native Identity during the Native Theater Festival at the Public Theater in NYC,  Her album, “Skintalk” is part of the permanent collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian as an example of contemporary Native American Music. She is featured in NMAI’s current exhibit “Up Where we Belong – native Americans in Popular Culture”.

Ms. Redbone has also held workshops and given motivational talks with many grade school children throughout her touring on reservations at Red Lake, MN, Cherokee, NC, Yuma, AZ, and Menominee, WI, to name a few. 

Having served as an exemplary ambassador to Native and African-American Youth for the National HIV/Aids Partnership, which also included dedicating several morning TV appearances to the cause, she was awarded the Red Ribbon Award for Outstanding Leadership presented on Worlds AIDS Day at the United Nations in 2005. 

Currently she is the indigenous affairs consultant and creative advisor to the Man Up Campaign, the new global youth movement to eradicate violence against women and girls.

Artist website: http://www.martharedbone.com