Category Archives: navajo


United States—The acclaimed alternative folk band from the Arctic of Norway, Adjágas, is set to have their introductory tour across the United States beginning July 3 and continuing through July 16. Supporting Adjágas are some of the best independent bands America has to offer, in part to welcome them here for their first tour across the States and also to show support for the culture of the indigenous people of the Scandinavian Arctic, the Sámi people. Along the way, Native American communities and musicians will also greet their European cousins to Indian Country. The two-week tour, which begins in Los Angeles and ends in New York City the first two weeks of July celebrates Adjágas ability to cross world-bridges in both culture and sound with the independent music scene and our indigenous heritages.

Adjágas is Sara Marielle Gaup and Lawra Somby—joikers (from the word joik, pronounced “yoik” and is a combination of singing and chanting) of Sámi origin from Norway. Both are backed by an experimental folk band. Joining Adjágas tour is Max Crawford on trumpet and banjo (of Poi Dog Pondering, the Archer Prewitt band and Wilco recordings). Joiking is an integral part of Sámi history, tradition and culture and bands as well known as The Sea & Cake,  Ethan Gold and Native musicians including Blackfire and Brent Greenwood, are coming together to support Adjágas by sharing double-billed acts in their hometowns.

On July 3, Adjágas will have a concert at the Hotel Café in Los Angeles with Ethan Gold whose recent album “Songs From A Toxic Apartment” received rave reviews from music journals such as Pitchfork and Glide magazines for his combined natural and electronic sounds including string sections and synthesizers. Opening for the main acts are Too Cute To Kill from Oklahoma, Willem Broad (of the FIM band) and Archer Black from L.A. The globally known Navajo punk rock band, Blackfire, will welcome Adjágas to their hometown of Flagstaff, Arizona where they will host a community event at the Taala Hooghan and again at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock on July 7. Adjágas will then travel to Santa Fe and perform for an art installation project, “The Due Return” at the Center for Contemporary Art. In Oklahoma on July 10, Adjágas will share the stage with Oklahoma’s Deerpeople and Fiawna Forté, two bands that recently graced the 2011 SXSW Film and Music Festival as part of Oklahoma’s music showcase at the Buffalo Lounge. Ponca powwow singer, Brent Greenwood, Adjágas and Fiawna Forté will also have unplugged performances during Adjágas welcoming party at the This Land Press (Oklahoma’s first new media company) backyard, with teepee and all. Chicago’s favorite indie musicians, Archer Prewitt and Sam Prekop of The Sea and Cake, who have heavily influenced bands like Broken Social Scene and The White Stripes, will introduce them to their local scene on July 13 at the Empty Bottle. Adjágas will end their tour in New York City, opening for Jimbo Mathis & The Tri-State Coalition at Littlefield NYC in Brooklyn and have a solo performance with The Dust Diver Flash (Laura Ortman and Bee & Flower’s Dana Schecter)  in Manhattan’s Cine M Art space. Spy FM radio will have a special focus on the tour on his show The SPY’s Eye on NDN Country.

[SPECIAL NOTE: Adjágas tour is supported through the Norwegian government and Sámi cultural organizations and is a not-for-profit tour. If you would like to help provide additional support for the tour and thus help spread the beauty of the Sámi culture and music, click here: BRINGING ADJAGAS TO AMERICAN AUDIENCES. To submit to our 501(c)3 umbrella organization go here: and donate to a tax-deductible organization via PayPal click HERE.]

Integral to this tour are the friends along the way who have helped bring this together, Joe Kennedy of Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Ethan Gold, Archer Prewitt of The Sea & Cake, Wes and Maura Studi, Julie Porter of The Oklahoma Film & Music Office, Jason Silverman and Filip Celander of the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe, Berta Benally of Blackfire, Jim Jarmusch and Carter Logan of New York, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian, Kyle Reinhart at the Scandinavia House, Ferris O’Brien and D.G. Smalling of Spy FM Radio.

Adjágas is a well-known act and popular band in Europe, having opened the Glastonbury Festival in back in 2007 as well as performing at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver in Canada. Adjágas’ music is based around the concept of the joik, a traditional musical form which describes something not with its words but its sounds. Each member of the band brings their own personal generational and cultural memory to the songs and collectively the band takes listeners on a journey into the heart of their legacy.

For current event schedule, see the EVENTS section at top. Additional tour dates may be announced and with detailed information on how to obtain tickets to the shows. For more information and updated schedules, please contact Killer Whale PR+M: Michelle Svenson (918) 810-2368, + Leah Studie (405) 762-2918,,

Today’s FREE Listen: “Hás it!from Adjágas latest albumManu Rávdnji”


EXTRA EXTRA! Listen to Ethan Gold‘s “Royal Flush” from his album “Songs From a Toxic Apartment”


Adjágas and Killer Whale PR+M graciously thank the Royal Norwegian Consulate Generals in New York and San Francisco and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Washington, DC. Additional support for Adjágas promotional and cultural exchange tour has been graciously provided by Sapmimusic and the Sámi Council.




June 19, 2010 (Montréal, Canada)—At the Awards Ceremony held at the McCord Museum, Montréal First Peoples’ Festival organized by Terres En Vue/Land In Sights announced Philipp Abryutin’s IVAN AND IVAN as the winner of the TEUEIKAN GRAND PRIZE for best short film and Blackhorse Lowe’s SHIMÁSÁNÍ as the winning film for best cinematography in the award MEILLEURE DIRECTION PHOTO yesterday in Canada!

“Black and white is an apt choice for Navajo country and the austere majesty of its unattainable horizons. For quenching our thirst for departures and depicting a ponderous reality in the pulsating light seeping into the hogan and shining in the pasturelands, the 2010 First Peoples Festival awards SMOKEY NELSON the BEST PHOTO DIRECTION prize for SHIMÁSÁNÍ by BLACKHORSE LOWE.”

Director Blackhorse Lowe with cinematographer Smokey Nelson and producer David Stevens at the Sundance Film Festival 2010. Photo by Wesley Law.

“For the strong impact of a concise, controlled story line accurately depicting the intergenerational and identity-based laceration so many First Peoples suffered when their children were torn from their natural milieu in the name of progress, and for a strong work of art in which a young director is already affirming an authentic filmmaker’s signature, the 2010 First Peoples Festival awards the TEUEIKAN GRAND PRIZE to a short film that has a lot more to say than many longer films: IVAN AND IVAN by PHILIPP ABRYUTIN.”

Director Philipp Abryutin.

Killer Whale PR+M celebrate these awards with the  filmmakers and cinematographer for their outstanding achievements and are happy to share the news with you.

For more information on the films, please visit their websites (linked within and to the right of this article).  Learn more about the filmmakers under ARTISTS WE’RE TALKING ABOUT above. For more information on Montréal First Peoples’ Festival, click here.



PARK CITY, UT—Navajo film director, Blackhorse Lowe, will screen his latest film, “Shimásání,” a short created with the 2007 New Mexico/New Visions Award will screen at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival from January 21—31, 2010 in Park City, Utah. The story, inspired by the director’s family history and environment, is infused with his love for film by invoking the spirits of cinema masters Akira Kurosawa, Zacharias Kunuk and Jean-Luc Godard. A serious contemplation in the art of film makes this short docu-drama a cinematic milestone in Native American movie-making.

Shimásání” was created in large part by the 2007 New Mexico/New Visions Award by the state that included a Panavision camera package award using Kodak film, enabling the inspired Lowe to shoot on film using an anamorphic lens to create a cinematic experience set on the Navajo reservation in the 1920s. To Lowe, who wrote, directed and edited the film, “I wanted to shoot Shimásání on the most beautiful cinematic format available, so shooting black and white 35 anamorphic was really the only choice.  With it I was able to achieve an authentic sense of a time, place and people rarely presented on the screen, whereas digital or other grades of film wouldn’t have allowed that reality to come through as it truly is.

Known for casting family members and pushing them out of their comfort zone, Lowe’s final outcome is a cathartic experience reminiscing the stark landscaped backdrop of Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai” with the inner emotional turbulence of Godard’s “Contempt” in a personal story about a woman coming-of-age whose family obligation to tend the sheep with her mother conflicts with her desire to attend boarding school, a contrary concept to most Native experiences.

Shimásání (Navajo for ‘maternal grandmother’) is based on my grandmother’s story of wanting to go to boarding school. To her this offered a chance for intellectual stimulation and an opportunity for a better life.  The boarding school experience for most Native Americans is not a happy one, but this story offered a different perspective on the whole situation.” (Blackhorse Lowe, on the subject of the film)

Blackhorse Lowe, whose roster of films includes his first feature film which showcased at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, “5th World” and his debut short film, “Shush” that screened at the festival in 2004. Lowe was the recipient of the 2007 Renew Media Grant for his screenplay “Left-Handed Path,” a project he also work-shopped as a fellow of the 2006 Sundance Writer’s and Producer’s Lab. “Shimásání” recently screened at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, Academy Award nominating festival, LA Shorts Fest and won two Honourable Mention Awards at the ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in Toronto, Canada. He was one of 25 film directors that participated in First Nations/First Features, a touring showcase of first features films by world indigenous directors presented by The Museum of Modern Art, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian and New York University.

Shimásání” stars an all-Navajo cast with impressive crew of Native producers, Chad Burris, Chickasaw, who produced the award-winning films by Seminole director Sterlin Harjo, “Barking Water,” “Four Sheets to the Wind,” and “Goodnight, Irene;” Heather Rae, Cherokee, whose production “Frozen River” was nominated for two Academy Awards and won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival; Nanobah Becker, Navajo, a fellow alumni of the Tribeca Film Institute’s All Access program, whose short film “Conversion” screened at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. Both Chad Burris and Heather Rae have two feature films at this year’s Sundance, “The Dry Land” starring America Ferrera produced by Rae and “The Killer Inside Me” by Michael Winterbottom, executive produced by Burris. Shimásání’s director of photography, Smokey Nelson, also worked on camera for 2010 Sundance pick “Blue Valentine” starring Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling and directed by Derek Cianfrance.

Sundance Screening dates for “Shimásání” are:

Program: Shorts Program V

Friday, January 22, 11:30 a.m. at Prospector Square Theatre, Park City;

Saturday, January 23, 5:30 p.m. at Library Center Theatre, Park City;

Sunday, January 24, 3:45 p.m. at Broadway Centre Cinemas V, SLC;

Wednesday, January 27, 9:00 a.m. at Holiday Village Cinema IV, Park City;

Saturday, January 30, 6:00 p.m. at Egyptian Theatre, Park City.

Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, Sundance Institute is a not-for-profit organization that fosters the development of original storytelling in film and theatre, and presents the annual Sundance Film Festival. Internationally recognized for its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, film composers, playwrights and theatre artists, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Angels in America, Spring Awakening, Boys Don’t Cry and Born into Brothels.

For ticketing and screening information, visit the Sundance Film Festival website at or contact their Park City Office at Park City, UT: (435) 658-3456.  To attend press screenings, please contact Michelle Svenson and/or Robert Cangiano at Killer Whale PR+M and the Sundance Film Festival Press Office: Lauren Larson, Publicity Coordinator, Shorts Programs at (435) 776 7934 or

Press kit including images and press clips available.