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Navajo-Hopi Observer | Flagstaff, Arizona

home : features : features August 25, 2016

10/8/2013 9:56:00 AM
Legacy Music Fest brings roots, rock and reggae to Hopi Reservation
Reggae artists bring messages of redemption and
Reggae legend Junior Reid performs Oct. 5 at the Legacy Music Festival. Loretta Yerian/NHO
Reggae legend Junior Reid performs Oct. 5 at the Legacy Music Festival. Loretta Yerian/NHO

Maka Roots and The I-Sight Band perform for a sold out crowd at the Hopi Veterans Memorial Center Oct. 5. Loretta Yerian/NHO
Maka Roots and The I-Sight Band perform for a sold out crowd at the Hopi Veterans Memorial Center Oct. 5. Loretta Yerian/NHO
Loretta Yerian
Navajo-Hopi Observer

KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz. - The Hopi Veterans Memorial Center was the scene for this year's reggae festival Oct. 5. Legacy Music Fest sponsored the event that took place just east of Kykotsmovi on the Hopi Reservation.

The messages of the evening's music ranged from happiness and harmony to redemption and remembrance of cultures. The themes resonated not only with audience members but with band members as well. Junior Reid opened his set with his hit song, "One Blood."

"Reggae has a redemptive quality, common to all of us," said Maka, of Maka Roots & The I-Sight Band. "I'm not in it for fame, reggae is something that I've always wanted to do."

The doors opened at 4:30 p.m. and the show began at 5:30 p.m. I-Conscious and Maka Roots and The I-Sight Band opened the show. The headliner for the night was international reggae artist, Junior Reid. Other bands performing included The Sarah B Band, Warrior King, and Michigan and Smiley.

Concertgoers came from all parts of the reservation and neighboring communities to attend. Rhonda and Darin Masawytewa of Second Mesa won their tickets when they were the number five caller on KUYI 88.1 FM Hopi Radio.

"We're here to enjoy the music and use the free tickets," Masawytewa said. "We heard Michigan and Smiley from listening to them in school, and we grew up listening to that music from years back."

Tickets were $25 in advance and $35 at the door, with the first 50 people in the door receiving a free poster of the event.

"We've been waiting for it all week," said Irvin Poleahla of Old Oraibi.

Poleahla and his friends said the concert was a big motivation to earn extra money.

"We heard about it on the radio and on flyers," Poleahla said. "It got us motivated to go to work and get money to go tonight. We've been saving for about two weeks."

Poleahla earned money for the concert by carving Kachinas and through his construction job. He said it's nice to hear live music on the reservation.

"It's nice that we don't have to leave the Rez because we tried to go see Steel Pulse at Cliff Castle Casino, but I was too busy to go," he said.

For Maka and The I-Sight band, it was their second time playing on the reservation.

"We are blessed enough to be invited back and I think it's crucial, I think it's amazing to be here," Pihkah, guitarist for The I-Sight Band said. "To be reminded of our humanity. We are all from one tribe originally and that's what we are reminded of here."

For other musicians, it was their first time playing on native lands.

"This is my first time on any Indian reservation," said Sarah Okura of the Sarah B Band.

Okura, a native of Hawaii, noted there were a lot of similarities between the Native American and the Native Hawaiian cultures and histories.

"I feel like I'm kind of at home here, the people and culture reminds me a lot of home," she said, "Even some of the food reminds me of home."

"Reggae resonates with the native people," said Joseph General of I-Conscious, "Because of the messages of oneness."

The 300 plus crowd in attendance loved the music.

James Surveyor, special events manager and promoter for this year's Legacy Music Fest said, "This is what makes it unique, people come for the music."

For international reggae legend Warrior King, it was the last stop of his tour.

"This is our last show, we are headed back to Jamaica tomorrow," he said, "I love it here, I hope to be back."

Concertgoers were also able to buy food and drinks, along with souvenirs provided by vendors. Bands also provided memorabilia, including t-shirts, CDs, beanies, and posters.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Article comment by: Positive Thinker

Reggae is about positive thinking not negativity as you have expressed. Use your time to benefit your community not chastise it for things you don't like and obviously don't support "Not-So" Innocent Bystander......

Posted: Sunday, October 13, 2013
Article comment by: Innocent Bystander

What about the african american/Hopi babies in 9 months as has been seen in the past are we okay with that?

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