ACF Names Six Recipients of First Nations Composer Initiative Common Ground Program Grants

Six grants ranging from $3,000 to $5,000 have been awarded to American Indian/Indigenous musical artists in the sixth round of grant making from First Nations Composer Initiative (FNCI), a program of American Composers Forum. The awards are made under the Common Ground Grant Program, funded with the support of the Ford Foundation’s IllumiNation portfolio. FNCI is committed to supporting activities that build careers of indigenous musicians, including commissions, residencies, performance and production, travel/study, and outreach.

The sixth round 2009 Common Ground grant recipients are:

Joy Harjo (Mvskoke) New Mexico/Genre: Traditional. Funding to assist in the production of an original traditional music album. This musical project will be a series of honor songs. Songs will feature Native flutes, turtle shell, and other traditional Mvskoke rattles as well as multiples voices both sung and spoken.

Shirley Kendall and Maria Williams (Tlingit/Haida) Alaksa/Genre: Traditional. Funding to assist in developing both a written songbook and a DVD songbook based on Tlingit social songs. The idea behind the songbook is to provide the Tlingit song texts, the cultural contextual information, correct pronunciation, and the clan history association with the songs.

Cheryl L’Hirondelle (Mestis/Cree-non status) Ontario/Genre: Contemporary/Multidisciplinary. Funding to assist in developing and creating an audio map of Cheryl’s journeys around Toronto by singing the urban landscape, animals, people and their activities.

Shelly Morning Song (Northern Cheyenne) New Mexico/Genre: Contemporary. Funding to assist with musician and producer fees for a new album, Full Circle, which will consist of songs that encourage healing, awareness, and empowerment for the people.

Murray Porter (Mohawk) Vancouver BC/Genre: Blues. Funding to assist with musician fees, rehearsal, and studio time, as well as mixing and mastering expenses for a CD recording project of 12 original blues songs.

Janet Rogers (Mohawk/Tuscarora) Victoria BC/Genre: Spoken Word. Funding to be used to assist with a tour plan for live performance of spoken word works accompanied by violinist Swil Kanim and cellist Cris Derksen, and the development of a video component which will run simultaneously with performance.

Panelists for the sixth round were Dawn Avery (Mohawk descent), Lisa Long (Muscogee/Creek-Choctaw), and Watso (Abnaki).

(—Condensed from the press release)