December 26, 2009

Jana's American Indian Christmas

Christmas in 10 Native American Languages

By Monika EvstatievaFor weeks now, Christmas music has been playing everywhere—carols in the grocery store, holiday hits at Starbucks, and live music on the streets. But one artist has taken the holiday spirit in a different direction. Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Jana Mashonee recorded 10 traditional Christmas songs in 10 different Native American languages. The result is American Indian Christmas.

"I wanted to do something no one else has done. And so I thought maybe I can do a whole album in Native languages," Mashonee says, "And I thought I am crazy; I am doing it."
And:There are over 500 different Native American tribes in the United States, but Mashonee, a Lumbee-Tuscarora, says often the elders are the only keepers of the languages. She recorded the album to make the Native language more accessible and accepted.

"It is kind of a way to know that these languages are still living ... to be able to have the younger people in the tribes to know more about their language and accept it," Mashonee explains. "And, also for non-Native people to hear a Native language."
Below:  Jana Mashonee's latest album is called New Moon Born. (Carter James)

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