jim pepperfest 2013
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While the passing of forty years has dimmed recollection of the exact dates and circumstances, it's likely the Free Spirits formed around spring of 1966 in New York, where most of the band was living in a dilapidated building on the Lower East Side. Guitarist Larry Coryell had just moved to the city from Seattle to try and make it in the jazz scene, while drummer Bob Moses, tenor saxophonist Jim Pepper, and bassist Chris Hills all came from jazz backgrounds. Only rhythm guitarist Columbus "Chip" Baker, who'd played in folk coffeehouses, was coming from outside the jazz world, though Coryell had also played some rock and R&B back in the Northwest. But it was a time when rock and pop were becoming overwhelmingly popular among America's youth, particularly with the rise of the Beatles and the British Invasion. So it was that although none of them were hardcore rockers, the Free Spirits determined to play rock music by fusing it with their own roots, much as there were no real rockers among the Byrds when they had formed and made their own fusion with folk-rock. Click here to read the rest of this wonderful article.
Keith Secola is an icon and ambassador of Native music. He is one of the most influential artists in the field today. Rising from the grassroots of North America, he is a songwriter of the people.

Critics have dubbed him as the Native versions of both Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen. NDN Kars (Indian cars), his most popular song is considered the contemporary Native American anthem, achieving legendary status and earning him a well deserved cult following.

It has been the number one requested song on tribal radio since the 1992. In 2011, he joined the ranks of Jimmy Hendrix, Hank Williams, Crystal Gale, and Richie Valens, and was inducted into the Native Music Hall of Fame.

Born in 1957 in Cook, Minnesota, Secola is affiliated with the Anishinabe tribe. He graduated from Mesabi Community College with a degree in Public Service in 1979, and completed a BA in American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota in 1982. He is married and has two children

Secola is an accomplished artist, garnering awards and accolades as a musician, a singer, a songwriter, a composer and a producer. He is highly skilled with the guitar, flute, mandolin, banjo, harmonica, and piano, and has played in venues from the halls of the Chicago Urban Indian Centre, to the walls of the bottom of the Grand Canyon. He has also performed at the Olympic Games in Atlanta 1996 and Salt Lake City 2002, and toured Europe several times.

Among his numerous appearances he has graced the stages of the Rockslide Festival in Denmark, the Grand Opening Gala of the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, The Kennedy Center and the SXSW in Austin, TX, and is a staple at the Grassroots Festival in Upstate New York, North Carolina and Florida.

A seven-time Native American Music Award winner, Secola has earned NAMMYs not only for his music, but also his abilities as a producer, to include The Best Linguistic Recording for producing ANISHINABEMOIN (2007). A well respected musician, he has worked with music legends such as Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead. Secola has also teamed with academics like author Dr. Tom Venum of the Smithsonian Folklife Institute, collaborating on the CD, AMERICAN WARRIORS: SONGS FOR INDIAN VETERANS, and with elders such as Karen Drift, a speaker of Anishenabemoin. View Keith's website: click here
Swil Kanim, a classically trained violinist, native storyteller and actor, is a member of the Lummi Tribe. He was born on November 11, 1961 in Seattle, Washington and grew up in the Bellingham, Washington area.

As a young boy, he was separated from his parents and spent the remainder of his childhood in foster homes. One of his teachers encouraged him to enroll in a music program, and the violin became his music instrument of choice. Through music, he found his path to healing childhood wounds and reconnect to his native roots.

Because of his unique ability to inspire audiences to express themselves honorably, Swil Kanim is a sought-after keynote speaker for conferences, workshops, school assemblies, and rehabilitation centers.He travels extensively throughout the United States, enchanting audiences with his original composition music and native storytelling. His workshops, The Elements of Honor, are attended by people from all walks of life.

Swil Kanim's compositions incorporate classical influences as well as musical interpretations of his journey from depression and despair to spiritual and emotional freedom. The music and stories that emerge from his experiences have been transforming people's lives for decades.

During a recent interview, Swil Kanim said the following about the "Works for the People" CD: "I played each piece of the album as if it was the only chance I had to record it. I was striving for the perfection in the moment rather than perfection in the eternal recording. I wanted to create that feeling that I was playing for the individual listener. Rather than have an album of individual pieces, I would try to tie each track together considering the energy level of the preceding and following piece and the last piece with the first piece."

Swil Kanim's desire to be of greater service to communities needed the support of a team. In the summer of 2009, a nonprofit corporation was set up, initially named The Swil Kanim Foundation. Over the next few months, a strong board of directors was appointed, and work began on identifying funding sources. In December 2011, the organization's name was changed to HONORWORKS in order to more closely reflect the purpose and goals of the organization. View Swil's website,
No one has a longer history of musical collaboration and friendship with Jim Pepper than Glen Moore. They performed as teenagers with the Young Oregonians. Glen Moore went on to co-found the band Oregon, which continues to keep Jim's music alive worldwide.

World-renowned jazz singer Nancy King's connection to Jim Pepper began in the 1960s.

As King/Moore, Nancy King and Glen Moore have recorded three albums together and performed in Europe and North America.

Photo credits: John Rudoff
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