The Dawnland Singers
THE DAWNLAND SINGERS are a Native performance group that was founded in 1993 when they were featured at the Abenaki Cultural Heritage Days in Vermont. Their presentations include new and traditional northeastern Native music mixed with Abenaki storytelling. During their first years of performing, they performed at many venues, including the Champlain Valley Festival, the Old Songs Festival, The Eight Step, Caffe Lena, Kanatsiohareke, and as the opening act for the Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan concert in Highgate, Vermont, which resulted in a laudatory article about them in the Grateful Dead Newsletter. Their first recording, Alnobak, was released in 1994.
The original four members of The Dawnland Singers are James Bruchac, Jesse Bruchac, the sons of the oldest member of the group Joseph Bruchac and the nephews of the final member, Joe's sister Marge Bruchac. All four are well-known, respected and much-travelled as traditional storytellers and have hundreds of publications--ranging from books for adults and children to academic essays--between the four of them.
Joseph Bruchac is an author with over a hundred books to his credit.
Margaret Bruchac is the current coordinator of the new University of Connecticut Native Studies program at Avery Point.
Despite the success of their early performances and recordings, the group has found it hard in recent years to find the time to all perform together at the same time because of the demands of their own very busy individual careers. However, in 2009, the group reunited to produce a new CD.
Their current performances are linked to the May 2009 release of that new CD Honor Songs, a collection of original songs--some in the traditional mode and others in the style of modern American Indian folk music employing not just drum, flute, rattle and vocals, but also stringed instruments. The songs, some in English and others in Abenaki, were written by Jesse Bruchac and Joseph Bruchac, several in collaboration with the newest member of the Dawnland Singers acclaimed multi-intrumentalist John Kirk and accompanied on bass and in vocals by the legendary Ed Lowman.
All of the songs, whether in English or Abenaki, are meant to honor such individuals and groups of people as our Elders, our Warriors, such past and present leaders as Greylock (Wawanolet), King Phillip (Metacom), and Chief Homer St., Francis, Iraq War veterans, and the great American Indian athlete Jim Thorpe.
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