SINGING FOR WATER was composed to function in many contexts — it was composed for 3 levels of simultaneous choruses -- so that most anyone can sing it and participate in a global effort to protect the rights of water for all people, and the growing endeavor for human rights. All ensembles from professional choirs to kindergarten classes can team up with this common statement, and everyone is encouraged to participate.
Significant to the work is the composer's Mohican heritage and the unique struggle that all Native Americans have faced in the form of systematic oppression, seen most recently in the form of ongoing attempts by oil companies to secure land rights for pipelines in direct violation of long-standing treaties; Article Six of the U.S. Constitution holds that Indian treaties "shall be the supreme law of the land."
As Native Americans sing for water and justice, the music you sing, also, can be joined in chorus with the voices of Native Americans. As an ally, we encourage you to reach out to Native American musicians in your area, and invite them to perform with you.
You can connect to local tribes through the Tribal Leaders Directory found here. We'll help you do it! Email us at this address (email@example.com)!
Please join us and add your voices with those whose cultural heritage represents a struggle that directly affects us all.
OUR LYRICISTS AND COMPOSER
TARA ZHAABOWEKWE HOUSKA, a citizen
of Couchiching First Nation, is the National Campaigns Director of Honor The Earth, and
a tribal attorney based in Washington, D.C.
She was born and raised in International Falls, Minnesota, and was a triple major at the University of Minnesota, where she also earned her law degree. Since completing her studies, she has exclusively advocated on behalf of tribal nations at the local and federal levels.
Her work has incorporated traditional knowledge and values, as Tara is a long-time student of Midewiwin. Her environmental justice efforts have ranged from grassroots organizing and media work to clerking for the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
She is a co-founder of Not Your Mascots, a non-profit committed to educating the public about the harms of stereotyping and promoting positive representation of Native Americans in the public sphere. Tara is dedicated to mino bimaadiziwin.
Tara has organized and lead several demonstrations across the country against demeaning Native American mascots, including the largest recorded name change rally and the first large-scale protest at FedEx Field. She is a contributor to Indian Country Today, Huffington Post, and the Guardian, and has been featured on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, RT America, and local media outlets.
BRENT MICHAEL DAVIDS is a multi-award winning composer of concert music and film scores, and America’s most seasoned Native American composer. Davids’ composer career spans 41 years, including awards and commissions from ASCAP, NEA, School for Advanced Research, Meet-The-Composer, Kronos Quartet, In-Vision, Miró Quartet, Emmy, National Symphony, Chanticleer, Joffrey Ballet, and the Rockefeller, Bush and McKnight Foundations. Davids is widely regarded nationwide as an American Indian music specialist for projects involving American Indians.
Davids holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music Composition from Northern Illinois University (1981) and Arizona State University (1992) respectively, trained at Redford’s Sundance Institute (1998), and apprenticed with Oscar-winning composer Stephen Warbeck (2003). He has garnered the Distinguished Alumni Awards from both of the universities he attended, NIU (1996) and ASU (2004). In 2012, Davids was Composer-In-Residence with Mankato Symphony Orchestra, MN, and in 1983-84 was Composer-In-Residence at Graceland College, IA.
In 2015, the prestigious Indian Summer Music Festival awarded Davids its “Lifetime Achievement Award.” In 2011, the “Dakota Music Tour” featured 4 concerts of Davids' orchestral works, performed by the Mankato Symphony and the Dakota drum group Maza Kute, with a $68,000 award from MN’s Legacy Amendment. That same year, Davids conducted a month-long tour of Russia, lecturing and performing, sponsored by the US-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission. In 2009, Davids was featured on a SDPB-TV network special, following multiple road trip performances of his Black Hills Olowan by South Dakota Symphony and the famed Porcupine Singers (Lakota).
Davids’ work, Powwow Symphony, was premiered by New Mexico Symphony (1999), Phoenix Symphony (2002), and Mankato Symphony (2011) to rave reviews. Commissioned by the National Symphony, his Canyon Sunrise (1996) premiered at the Kennedy Center to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Kennedy Center and the 60th Anniversary of the NSO. Garrison Keillor asked Davids for the orchestra work, Prayer & Celebration (2005), featured on “A Prairie Home Companion” show.
Davids has worked extensively in the choral field, often featured as a clinician for conventions, such as his work with Chanticleer at the 6th Annual World Choral Symposium, Minneapolis (2003). In 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts named Davids among the nation’s most celebrated choral composers in its project “American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Artistic Genius.” Davids has also been commissioned by Grammy Award-winning Chanticleer, for Night Chant (1997), Mohican Soup (1999), Un-Covered Wagon (2003), and Leather Stocking (2012). www.FilmComposer.us • www.doodleBugMusic.com