- This event has passed.
From Sagebrush to Neon Ocean
September 25, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
The Western Folklife Center has partnered with Western States Arts Federation and the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts for their “Arts Across America” series. This live online concert series showcases artists living in different states, and we’re honored to be part of Nevada’s “From Sagebrush Ocean to Neon Oasis” event.
Watch it here on Facebook Live!
Friday, September 25, 2020
4pm Eastern, 1pm Pacific time
Our first stop will be to hear traditional songs performed by singer E’sha Hoferer, a tribal member of the Agai Dicutta Numu (Northern Paiute). E’sha will be singing from his home on the Walker River Indian Reservation in Schurz, Nevada, in the western part of the state. From an early age he began learning from the elders about traditional songs, their meaning, and how they are used in Numu culture. E’sha’s college studies focused on revitalizing Native language through social media and he has brought this interest back home to teach the Northern Paiute language through in-school and after school programs. Thanks to the peers and mentors who helped E’sha with the traditional songs and language, he has gone on to helping with ceremonies in the community, serving on the tribal council, and passing along stories about who they are and who they represent to Nevada Indigenous youth here in Northern Nevada.
The next stop takes listeners to the northeastern corner of the state in Elko County where Basque immigrants found work and a new home during the late 1800s – 1950s. An Elko native of Basque descent, Mercedes Mendive began learning the piano accordion at the age of 10 from renowned accordionist Bernardo Yanci, who hailed from Lesaka in the Basque country. Today she is known for her repertoire of traditional and contemporary Basque tunes as well as original compositions influenced by her Basque heritage. Mercedes is the music director for the Elko Basque Club, teaching music and providing live music for dancers of all ages, and traveling and performing for Basque events throughout the West. She has represented Basque culture at the Smithsonian’s Festival of American Folklife, the International Accordion Festival, the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, and more. Mercedes will be accompanied by Ken Harriman, local musician and member of the Southwind Band.
We’ll finish our trip in the southern part of the state in Las Vegas to hear from Gary Haleamau & Kāwili. This family group weaves together Hawaiian mele (song) and hula (dance), luminescent vocal harmonies, and effervescent slack key guitar. Composed of Gary, wife Sheldeen, and son Kurin, this Las Vegas-based band is dedicated to treasuring and passing on Hawaiian music and art to younger generations, while giving audiences around the world a living example of Aloha. Gary Kawiliau Haleamau grew up at the Hu’ehu’e Ranch on the big island of Hawaii where family gatherings always included music and began his musical career at an early age; first as a solo artist, then traveling the world with Hawaiian music groups. Sheldeen Kaleimomi Haleamau of Hanapēpē, Kauaʻi, began her hula career at a young age and has travelled the world sharing her gift of hula. She is a former Miss Aloha Hula and the founder of Hālau Hula o Kaleimomi in Las Vegas. Kurin Pomaika’imaikeakua Haleamau is a gifted singer-musician, and has excelled in his musical career as an accomplished record producer, slack-key-bass guitarist and singer with Kāwili. Gary has produced over 14 album-length recordings of original and traditional music.