As I have shared my love of Nahko Bear and Medicine for the People, I have found few in my circles, at least, have heard of him and the band. I love the music and the lyrics, and the stories Nahko often tells between songs. I’m sharing the following message from Nahko announcing an upcoming new album and tour, so you can see for yourself.
Greetings Relatives,Nahko Bear
Spring is in full swing and before Thanos can snap his fingers, it’ll be summer on Turtle Island. Our country is primed for an overthrow of power within rapidly shifting currents. The land has seen devastation over the winter’s long night, but now sings songs of rebirth inside the blossoms of the cherry tree. At least in this hemisphere. The people…well, we’re all a little worn out thanks to a heavy hitting astrological and planetary realignment. Does anyone else feel like they’ve hardly had a moment to process and catch a breath before Mercury went Gatorade? Again? We’re being tested. Within each survivor is a warrior. Can we captain this ship through unknown waters? Are we braver than our fears? Will we earn a seat at the table, our place as a future ancestor? Oh, hell yes.
The band and I took a well-deserved break this winter. It was our first 6 months off in a row in like 5 years! We’ve been going pretty non-stop since 2013, so it was a long time coming. Some of the fellas have been off touring their own music, or back in their cities and forests doing their works, raising their families. Each tilling his garden in his unique way. There has been a lot of ‘life’ things we have all been addressing on the home and family fronts. This job we have is no easy task, albeit may appear like a festive adventure to many it is also a sacrifice of our time, energy, and mana. The practice of giving and receiving in equal parts is imperative to survival and a healthy lifestyle. Longevity only exists if we participate in practicing that sustaining balance. It is an athlete’s stage, where we stand and cast our frequencies like farmers spreading seed. We must train at home and on the road to stay physically, mentally, and spiritually fit in order to face the shadows of each city, the distance from our nests.
I, for one, was running on empty for too many years. I masked it with subtle addictions and destructive personalities that served my escapism. The songs became a shield. The Tribe became an enabler. I had become overwhelmed with anxiety and unconscious depression. In order to not lose myself, I had to rediscover ( the hard way, per usual ) what it means to love myself, love the little boy spirit within me. This is something we all must do, in time. These are rites of passage. This is a step in taking your power back.
As a storyteller, I turn experience into something shared. This trick can play itself in a manipulative way on the teller, as well, if you’re not careful. Many times over I have lost myself in the falsities of some of the stories I have circulated within my psyche. Multiple personalities creating art and chaos and war and peace. Who’s really in charge? What is reality and what is a narrative my mind made up? I began to envision a whole version of me, the bear and the cub, working in tandem to ascend the inner heavens, traverse the endless forests. Taking the power back, beginning at conception, the source level, and working from there. The songs in this new body of work encapsulate so much of what I have been carrying on my shoulders, on my heart, in my bones. Thousands of years of karma and the scars of so many people I never knew. Every single one of those ancestors went through stages of awakening, fulfilling their own version of answering that fateful call to action. I like to think they learned to wade through what was theirs and what was inherited. It gives me hope.
The songs came to me in waves. I think land has a lot to do with what comes through you, in writing. Being back in Cascadia, the Mt. Hood National Forest, has been really grounding for a guy without any Earth in his chart. For the first time, I wrote to a record. I doubted myself. The songs. The process. The melody. The message. There’s so much weird math and science in song writing. Naturally, the nerd in me found courage in the folds of that mystical tapestry. This fall, I’m going to wrap you all up in those nurturing wisdoms, offerings in a woven basket, filled with sweetgrass and cedar.
It won’t be long now till we are taking to that great road again to bring our praise and worship to you. It’s uncertain of the full length album will be out, but we’re crossing our fingers and allowing the music to guide us and take all the time it needs to marinate. We’ll definitely be sharing a few new tunes, regardless. Enough to warm the soul till the next round. Naming this tour the ‘Take Your Power Back Tour’ felt entirely appropriate given the state of the planet and all Her creatures great and small…given the state of your loyal narrator.
Women of wonder and potent poetry will join us on that fall road. Ayla Nereo brings her big medicine to half of this tour and Nattali Rize brings her big power to the other half. Two huge matriarchal spirits, I’m really excited to witness the way they set the stage and open the gates. I can already feel the high vibe container, a congregation cultivating a safe space for transmission and reconciliation. Tears and laughter. Movement and medicine.
We’re rounding the bend to 20/20, ya’ll. Arrive at our gathering this fall with whatever shape your heart is in. Full, broken, in pieces, strong, hopeful, hurting, overflowing, all of it. We’ll help best we can. The more time we spend together in this way, the more whole we can become. The Medicine Tribe is a community, a village, a movement of human beings and becomings. We are many colors and creeds, sharing that breath of life. We are the music, a common language. It’s our way out of the maze. It’s that missing puzzle piece. It’s us. Together.
So here’s to expanding beyond our initial beliefs. To opening our minds to higher reasoning, to fields of toroidal blossoms where we can lay in stacks of dimensional light and turn off the oppressive broadcasting station of the patriarch and tune our dials to the matriarchal podcast within nature, human and non-human. Here’s to taking our power back. And to getting your tickets fast. This circus, this church, this ceremony is filling rooms in a city near you and not to be missed. We’ll see you there, familia.
In love and service,
Following are words and a video of Nahko talking to the water protector youth during his concert at Standing Rock last September 8, 2016. This is an example of what he often says between songs. To put this in context, this was just 5 days after security forces used attack dogs against the water protectors He was speaking to these young people while they were in the middle of their nonviolent resistance.
“Remember that nonviolent direct action is the way to a successful revolution. And that is a hard one, because they are so bad (chuckles). When they come at us you just want to hit ’em, you know? Just sit with that. I know it’s tough. They’re going to try to do everything they can to instigate you. But remember what we’re here for. We’re here to create peace for our Mother. We’re not here to create more violence.”
When you’re feeling bad, when you’re feeling frustrated, put all your prayer into your palms, put them to the ground, put them back to the sky, honor the Father, the Mother, just know it will be alright.Nahko speaks at Water Protectors Youth Concert, September 8, 2016
Are you guys feeling proud, are you proud of yourselves? Because the whole world is watching. The whole world is watching. So whatcha gonna do? Gonna show love? Are you gonna be smart? You gonna think before you act? Take care of each other? You’re gonna show ‘em what family does. They don’t know what that’s like.
You gotta put down the weight, gotta get out of your way.
Get out of your way and just look around the corner at your real self and look at all the potential that this beautiful Earth and love has to offer you.
It’s crazy being out in front of you guys. I had a moment there. I was like, I like started spacing out and I’m like oh god they’re looking at me aren’t they? I was thinking about how much happened before any of us were here. You know? There is a lot of history here. We gotta hold that when we’re standing out there. You gotta hold that when you’re on that line out there, too. You’re here for a lot more than just this pipeline.
It’s about rejoicing, it’s about laughter right now. We’ve got a big day ahead of us tomorrow folks. So, I just want to say I’m so grateful and I’m really proud of you guys. I’m really proud of you. (and then he turned away with obvious emotion).