See Ahbleza perform Paha Sapa (Song of the Black Hills) on YouTube at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=Q5EjvQXeC_8 or play the embedded version below:
Also watch it on River Music at http://rivermusic.us/ahbleza.html
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.
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