Monday, April 5, 2010

A Theatrical View of our Native American Heritage via Peter Buffett


Oh the snow fell without a break
Buffalo died in the frozen fields you know
Through the coldest winter in almost fourteen years

----Rod Stewart - (Mandolin Wind)

Greetings for this new year and decade! On this first day of this new decade, I've chosen to look back culturally. Please allow me to focus upon a theatrical view of our heritage today.

In 1995, I went to a very special musical production. It was the debut of Peter Buffett's Spirit-The Seventh Fire shown in theater tents set up along the Omaha banks of the Missouri River. It was a magical evening which I will never forget. Both the production and the corresponding CD rank among my lifetime favorites to this day. Emmy winner, Peter Buffett, is the successful composer and musician son of Warren Buffett who scored and choreographed "Fire Dance" in the film "Dances with Wolves" whose musical score won an academy award.

From Buffett's website:
Peter's theatrical production, Spirit-The Seventh Fire, began as a 1995 benefit concert for Robert and Jamie Redford in which Buffett combined his Native American-inspired music with live native dancing, powwow drummers and the singing of Chief Hawk Pope. The experience was not only personally gratifying, but universally well-received; after first being aired as a successful PBS Pledge Special, the Spirit show embarked on a four-month tour of the U.S in 1999. The reworked, Buffett-produced Spirit - The Seventh Fire returned in 2004 as part of the national Lewis and Clark Bicentennial events across the U.S., as well as being staged for the opening of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C. The show brought together Imax-scale film and imagery, live music, and an all-Native American cast of performers. The show tells the story of one man's journey of reconnecting with his heritage and the land he lives on. Spirit is currently trying to schedule tours in Europe and China.

Here is a succinct and well-stated review of the 2004 version of the production which I saw in 1995.

Peter Buffett peforming "Blood Into Gold"

The following is a favorite "song" or chant from the CD:

And, this next, is a good example of the dance and music from the production:
Happy New Year and best of luck to each one for the coming year and decade! --Kalpa