On the American side of the Border with Canada a stones throw away from Niagara Falls in the Seneca Casino and Hotel complex, Native American and Canadian artists celebrated the best of their culture, music and vibe at the 14th NAMA (Native American Music Awards). They were joined by Chinese Star Ayi Jihu, herself a Yi Native, to pay tribute and award those from their community who had shone most brightly in 2012.
Like many of you reading this, we had no idea the native American Indian community even had an award ceremony. We were oblivious to the Native American music scene and we had no idea what to expect. What we discovered was a vibrant Native American music community and scene and it has amazing artists who would top any chart in RnB, Hip Hop, pop, blues, soul as well as its own distinct music and identity.
Having been to quite a few award ceremonies around the world, the first thing that struck me about the NAMA’s was the people that attended it. The moment you walk into the building you are aware that you are surrounded by characters, personalities, talent and passion. There was not a tux in site. Everywhere you looked people were saying something with what they were wearing, the diversity in the way people dressed gives you a clue to the distinctiveness in the style and music of the event itself. You will see everything from Traditional native regalia to ‘blinged out’ street style and all in between and for some reason which we could not quite figure out, it just works. It’s beyond just being cool, it’s interesting and for the most part very real.
Ayi Jihu was styled by Top Native designer Angela DeMontigny. She is no stranger to this event and has dressed many of the native community’s biggest stars. It is her relationship with Chinese star Ayi Jihu however that is finally getting her the recognition she deserves and the dress she designed and styled Ayi Jihu in was definitely a show stopper.
The rich diversity and style at the NAMAs was evident everywhere and gave us a hint of what was to come on stage.
Ayi Jihu and Angela DeMontigny were presenting an Award together with Native Star Terri Lynn. Terri Lynn who is also styled by Angela DeMontigny looked stunning in her designs on and off stage. She was nominated in several categories.
Terri Lynn with her husband prominent native artist, Robert Davidson
The NAMA’s showcased many genres of Native American music from the traditional to the new. Artists like Jana Mashonee who performed with rapper ‘The Boy Illinois’ represent the pop side of the Native American music scene. She has won several awards in the past.
The traditional artists and music at the NAMA’s also makes this event a little different. The Native American Music community has some amazing vocalist and performers.
The grooves and melodies from Native American Music seem to have many elements that we hear in popular music today. The use of the drum is also very similar to how drums are used in African culture and music as well as Asian Music and culture.
Thrown up in between the traditional and the new are artists like Indian Elvis.
We had access to all areas at the NAMA’s and found the spirit and friendliness of the Artist, organizers and fans beyond anything we had experienced before. It made us wonder why the Native American Music community has remained such a secret. The talent in their ranks is comparable to much we have now also.
Native Legends like Russell Means star of oscar winning movies like ‘Last of the Mohicans’ (Who sadly passed away) where honoured at the event. The wife of Russell Means picked up his award.
Ayi Jihu met with many of the award winning Native artists at the NAMA’s.
Hoop Dancer Tony Duncan who has performed with several major well known stars on their videos and was introduced to the world by Nelly Furtado won who won the Artist of the year award, was an example of the talent, dignity and humility of many of the Native American artist we saw on the night.
Watching Ayi Jihu alongside Native Fashion Designer and Haida star Terri Lynn present at the NAMA’s was a nice bit of history, but to us it was also a clue as to why the Native American music scene has not perhaps realised it full potential as yet. Artist like Nelly Furtado are far and few between, when you see just how much talent there is within the Native American community you realize that getting themselves out there in the right light (for them) is perhaps their hardest battle.
We spoke to Ayi Jihu after she award ceremony and asked her how she felt about being the first Chinese artist to do what she did and what she felt about the NAMAs?
“Firstly I want to thank Terri Lynn and then the NAMA’s for inviting me here and making me feel so welcome and at home. I also want to say a big thank you to Angela DeMontigny who not only styled myself and Terri Lynn but who also made this whole thing happen. I feel privileged to be here. I feel a great responsibility to represent my people well and I see the same thing here among the Native American music community. I was not on stage for very long and I did not say very much, but I was aware of the significance of everything and just hope that my presence here will turn a few eyes towards the Native American community in a positive way as well as help people all over the world see that we are all in fact just one people. Sounds like big words but it is so true.
Everyone I met here was so interesting and kind. I did not feel like an outsider or someone who was here for the first time. I felt very much at home. There are many things my people [Yi People of China] have in common with the Native American community, from our love of music to the strong connection we have with our culture, history, traditions and our land. It’s a shame that these types of events are not broadcast to the kids of the world so they can see there is more than one way of being, more than one way vision of how things can be.
I hope the Native American Music community will invite me again and others like me to participate in their celebrations so that the world begins to take notice of all they have to bring to the table. I have seen some truly amazing artist tonight, singers, dancers musicians and comedians. They are so very talented these people.
I had a great time, learnt a lot and I have been inspired by much I saw and experienced. There is a great passion within the Native American music community. Nothing seems to be done just for the sake of it or just to sell stuff. There is a meaning and a reason behind every word and action when they perform and sing. I love this.”
For more information about Ayi Jihu visit her website www.Ayijihu.com
You can find out more about Top Native Fashion designer and stylist Angela DeMontigny by visiting her website www.AngelaDemontigny.com
Find out more about Haida Native singer Terri Lynn here
Discover more about the Native American Music scene and the NAMA’s here
Ground Breaking Chinese Star Ayi Jihu
Chinese Star Ayi Jihu stepped out in London to the ‘As Blue As The Sky’ private movie event at Mango Lounge in Earls Court. Ayi Jihu has a small part in this British Romantic Drama and this was her first real meeting with the Director and some of the producers of the film since finding out she was going to be in the film.
Ayi was accompanied by Shlepp CEO Stevie Eagle E.
Ayi Jihu got to meet some to the producers involved in the film ‘As Blue As the Sky’ Like James Daley. The Main producer of the Film Frederick Archer was not able to attend the event.
Ayi spent much of her time meeting and greeting various investors involved in the film. All of them seemingly eager to embrace the Chinese interest Ayi Jihu brings to the film.
For The Director of the Film Wayne Campbell this was not his first time meeting Ayi Jihu. He directed her the first music video she was ever in almost 5 years ago at Shlepp Records in London. He recommended Ayi for this role in ‘As Blue As The Sky’ Wayne Campbell told us: ‘It is amazing to see the rise of Ayi Jihu since I first met her almost 5 years ago. She was just an extra in a music video I was shooting for Shlepp Entertainment and we all could not take our eyes of her in the editing suite. It was obvious she stole the show on the video then and we actually went back and shot more of the video around her. Like many people I have been keeping my eye on her progress over the years and it has been a while since she has been back in the UK as she always seems to be in some exotic location around the globe. When we looked at Casting for this movie we knew right away we needed every edge we can get being an independent film. Ayi is not only perfect for the part but she brings a lot of interest and eyes from all over the world and hopefully that will put a few more bums on seats. If her first video is anything to go by we can expect her first big screen experience to to really go of the chain. She has a way of doing that to the things she touches. We are all excited about having her on board.
Ayi Jihu broke out in her custom raw laugh when Director Wayne Campbell tried to explain her role in the movie. Apparantly whatever it is she will not be wearing much we have been told.
Global News have also been told at least one Ayi song will be included in the film Soundtrack.
As Blue As The Sky is a Romantic Drama set in Dorset UK. The movie is supposed to be a real tear jerker. Based on a true story It explores the the scenario of losing and find love from a slightly different perspective. The film is slated to break ground on production early 2013.
Ayi Jihu has a busy 2013 lined up with her new album and several other film projects including Fear Chaser starting to break ground also.
Rising Chinese iconic star Ayi Jihu released a new video today explaining much about her growing Fear Chaser project that has caught the imagination of Millions worldwide. The Online video game of Fear Chaser starring Ayi Jihu and based on her concept was played by upwards of 25 million kids worldwide.
Ayi Clears up many misunderstandings about Fear Chaser in her video while telling us what to expect in the future as the project grows. 2012 is a big year for Fear Chaser with production breaking ground on the Short Movie, As well as her Fear Chaser Album. Also Ayi is expected to be performing Fear Chaser live in a technologically groundbreaking way; We are awaiting more details on that one.
In the video Ayi not only speaks about what Fear Chaser is but how it started and what it stands for. She explains a little about Fear Chaser being more than just a movie, but also a way of life, a movement, encouraging people all around the world to acknowledge and confront their fears.
Ayi also speaks about the ethnic and cultural influences that inspire Fear Chaser and make it slightly different from superhero figures that have gone before. ‘Anyone can be a Fear Chaser’ Ayi says. The different cultural and ethnic influences in Fear Chaser are displayed in the Re-designed Fear Chaser costume for 2012. Angela DeMontigny, native Canadian designer and stylist to Ayi Jihu is a top Fashion designer and she played a real part in helping Ayi and Co expand the Fear Chaser vibe to embrace even more cultures.
Watch the full video below:
Watch the full video below:
For more information on Ayi Jihu visit her official website: www.Ayijihu.com
For more information on Fear Chaser visit: www.fearchaser.com
For More information about Angela DeMontigny visit her website.
I had to share with you my experience of eating at Rubys Diner in Palm Springs. It was a typical winter Palm Springs night, not too cold and I was out with Kevin from Elan Vital. He wanted to take me somewhere where I could indulge a bit as when I am working I have to be very careful what I eat. But every now and then a girl just needs some junk food or some Chocolate, right?
The video kind of says it all, I did not even stop to breathe eating my 900 plus calorie milkshake, and when I say eating, I do mean eating. It’s so chock full of goodies you need a spoon for most of it. It’s like liquid Ben and Jerry’s
Ruby’s is a cool place, good old American comfort food and lots of it. I would not recommend making it a habbit but every now and then a few hundred calorie indulgence is just what the doctor ordered. I think I may have to steal the bike they have hung up in the Diner to work of my indulgence though.
In her first in depth interview since landing in the United States Ayi Jihu speaks to Skip Fredicks about her life, her reason for being in America and her work from the tranquil location of Los Arboles Hotel in Palm Springs.
For More information on Ayi Jihu visit her website www.ayijihu.com
On the way to the Cinema they witnessed what seem to be Huge Sand Storms twisting in front of them.
It was not long before the twisting Sandstorms in the distance where right upon them. ‘It was a bit scary’ Ayi said. ‘The car was swerving a bit and Rage was really trying to keep it under control, When the sandstorms hit the car you could feel and hear it. It was like someone pouring salt all over the car at speed. The crazy thing was as scary as it was it was so very beautiful too. You just could not stop looking at the beauty the weather was creating, from rainbows to dramatic godly skies, we just kept point things out to each other.’
Ayi Continued: ‘When we got back to the hotel it was a mess. The whole town was a mess. Lights out, trees down, debris all over the place. Wow Palm Springs took a bit of a battering!’
Ayi Jihu said the movie was worth the drive although when they were going to the cinema they considered turning back. As luck would have it they did the right thing as the storm was heading into Palm Springs and Banning was hardly touched by it.
The staff at Los Arboles hotel worked around the clock to return the boutique Hotel to its former glory.
For more information on Ayi Jihu please check her website www.ayijihu.com.