The song Paha Sapa was written in the no nukes era, and reflects
spiritual, cultural, and political Native struggles for the Black
Hills, which are certainly continuing to be discussed today. Though
this song was written by Nathan, the band deserves co-credit for
the strong musical delivery and arrangement.
The Ahbleza band: an amazing powerhouse of a musical group from
Minneapolis who self-identified as an American Indian community
band. In the early 80’s they stormed the area with featured
performances such as at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis;
White Earth reservation, Northern Minnesota; Sisseton/Wahpeton
reservation, South Dakota; NIEA, Denver, CO; Black Hills AIM shows,
South Dakota - to name a few.
The band consisted of leaders Jamison Mahto (Red Lake Ojibway/Lakota)
on guitar and vocals; and Fred Veilleux (Leech Lake Ojibway) on
keyboards. Fred and Jamison wrote and sang lead on much of the
original material. Mike Rivard contributed pulsating bass in conjunction
with drummer Jose Cousins. (Mike played with Doug Maynard and
Willie and the Bees among others). Nathan Muus, who also played
with Cortez and Cherokee Rose, and others, rounded out the band
on sax/flute and vocals.
In this rare live footage of the band at the University of Minnesota,
they perform their then hit song “Paha Sapa-Song of the
Black Hills”, written and sung by Nathan Muus. Nathan ties
this Native style traditional singing to his Sami family influence.
The Sami call traditional singing “joik”. Carlos Roque,
then Shangoya Band’s drummer, fills in for Jose on drums
in this performance. Yes the band got radio and TV exposure. Yes
they self destructed at some point. Jose Cousins sadly has passed
on. Jamison continues as a beat poet extraordinaire, and promoter
of Native music. Fred continues to be involved in Native education
and in songwriting. Mike still does video and music - as always.
Nathan continues in seeking the Sami-American Indian connections
through music. He is working on a retrospective collection of
his music spanning over 25 years.