|Visit LittleDeer's Web site for more information and sound samples. You can also find more resources for Native American music here.|
Paula: How do you incorporate various cultural influences within the framework of Native American music?LittleDeer: I wish I could say something profound and artistic. When recording, I find that if I bring together really good musicians, we will develop a great sound that I wouldn't have thought of by myself! I found a wonderful drummer. Dylan Mariah had about 35 drums in her home when I asked her to drum on my CD. She happens to know African, Carribean, and Latin rhythms. I'd sing a song, while she'd try different rhythms. When I heard something I liked, that was what we used! Occasionally, I could direct her from something that sounded close, but I'm not a percussionist, so I depended on her alot. With "Sedona Spring Equinox," I knew I wanted it to sound Celtic. I certainly had written it in a celtic style. Jim Jones, who played most of the instruments on that song, had been in a celtic band years before. I put the song in his hands and he did a marvelous job! Paula: You are a psychotherapist in addition to being a musician. Can you give some comments on the healing power of music? LittleDeer: I think music is a powerful healing force. It can reach people that might not be reachable through the written or spoken words. I'm thinking of the stereotypic 'angry adolescent,' who might not listen to their parents or teachers, but are glued to their stereos! Also, people of other cultures, who don't understand my language, will still get the feeling from my music. I use music in workshops to set the tone; it's really amazing to feel how the energy in the room changes after a song is sung. I am always flexible enough to 'listen' for the right song for the particular occasion and group of people. Paula: You write and sing about racism. How has this issue affected you personally? LittleDeer: Unfortunatelly, I have been affected by racism and bigotry and yes, this is why I have songs with this theme. "Tribe of Humanity" is cute and fun with a really good message that we really are just one tribe, one people. "Half-Breed's Lament," on the other hand is a really angry song. I don't sing it much anymore. This song is based on experiences I had where Indian people treated me and others with disgust in SPIRITUAL situations! We expect spiritual gatherings to be places where people treat each other with respect. When assumptions were made about me and others because our skin was lighter, I was shocked and appalled! Native Americans have lost a lot to European Americans and tend to react to lighter-skinned people as though these very people today are the ones that took their land, sterilized their wives and daughters, and killed their culture. I continue to get bigoted reactions from Indian record producers, DJ's and events coordinators. I've even gotten hate mail! But for every one of these, there are a dozen wonderful people who know that peace and acceptance are the way to change things.