If you’ve been keeping up with TLC and its partners, you already know that in our mission to revitalize Native American languages in the U.S., we provide critical infrastructural support to tribal education departments, schools, and work to increase public awareness on the crisis of disappearing languages. As part of this mission, we’re also working on strengthening our cultural partnerships, given that cultural activities, history and tradition are essential to successful language revitalization programs.
Beginning this year, The Language Conservancy and our sister organization Lakota Language Consortium will work closer with Kevin Locke and other Lakota performers to bring the broader public many collaborative events! Mr. Locke, world-renowned educator, plains flute player and hoop dancer, has been a Board Member for The Language Conservancy since its conception in 2005. He has actively moved Lakota language revitalization initiatives forward through his teaching, public speaking as well as flute-playing (check out this post on the LLC blog about the revival of the Lakota flute from 2013 ).
In Mr. Locke’s latest project, five years in the making – Lightning & Wind – he collaborated with Douglas Good Feather to create an album straight from the heart of Lakota culture. This album celebrates love in all its joys and woes through a genre of song called wiílowaŋ (“serenades” or “songs of women”). Lightning & Wind brings together archival recordings of some of the last keepers of these songs with masterful flute work by Kevin Locke and contemporary vocals by Douglas Good Feather. Wiílowaŋ flourished in the pre-reservation period when they were taught as part of the art of traditional subsistence. Although the social context that gave rise to wiílowaŋ has disappeared, their entertainment value has persevered, and the emotions they sing of are timeless gifts of the Plains. The album is available for download on CD Baby.
This weekend, Mr. Locke will be performing for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in celebration of the Annual Children’s Festival (details here). If you are in New York, we encourage you and your family to come out and celebrate Lakota culture with Mr. Locke!
The TLC team is looking forward to working closely with Mr. Locke and his team to bring new and exciting events. To book Kevin Locke as an educational speaker or performer, please contact Eddie Santos: