Blue Mountain Tribe, an award-winning band that’s entertained Tehachapi crowds for more than a decade, will perform at the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow in Albuquerque, N.M., on April 28.
Group founder Robin Hairston said he was excited to learn that the local band made up of all indigenous musicians was selected to perform at what is said to be the largest pow wow in the world.
“This is a huge honor, since a thousand bands applied and only eight bands make it,” Hairston said. “The event is televised on PBS and 15 other television stations, 30,000 people come to the three-day event from all over the world and Tehachapi’s own band made it.”
Melissa Sanchez of Emergence Productions confirmed that the band will be among featured performers on Stage 49, the premier music stage at the pow wow. Stage 49 features indigenous traditional and contemporary artists in a variety of genres including rock, blues, reggae, hip hop, country and more.
According to the New Mexico Department of Tourism, more than 3,000 indigenous, Native American and Indian dancers and singers representing more than 500 tribes from Canada and the United States participate in the event every year.
A horse and rider parade and the Miss Indian World competition are also part of the event.
Hairston named the group after the appearance of the Tehachapi Mountains as he was driving toward them one afternoon with sunlight and shadows making the mountains appear to be blue from a distance.
The band has had some different members through the years. Current members and their nations are Hairston, from the Chiricahua Apache Nation, who sings and plays harmonica; his son Caleb Hairston, lead guitar, also from the Chiricahua Apache Nation; Pat Mata, drummer, from the Northern Band Chumash-Yokuts Nation and Jeff CooperHawk who plays bass and is from the Cherokee Nation.
As a “band of brothers,” the Blue Mountain Tribe has created original songs focused on Native American experiences. The band has received numerous accolades since its formation. In particular, the song “Pray for Our Planet” won Best Music Video at the INDO French International Film Festival, the Latino and Native American Film Festival and the Las Vegas Film Festival.
The song was written in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, after Lakota Native American spiritual leader Chief Arvol Looking Horse asked the band to pray for healing.
Although the band has won awards and achieved commercial success, Hairston said its mission isn’t about garnering wealth and fame.
It’s all about raising awareness, helping others, and making the world a better place, he said.
For more information about the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow visit gatheringofnations.com. More information about Blue Mountain Tribe is online at bluemountaintribecom.
Claudia Elliott is a freelance journalist and former editor of the Tehachapi News. She lives in Tehachapi and can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sorry, there are no recent results for popular commented articles.