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released October 9, 2023
Speaking on the track, Arthur Red Medicine Crippen says:
“Honor Song” was given to me by my uncle Wayne Red Dawn Crippen. When my wife Ms. Kat wasn’t feeling well I used to sing it to her when she was in the hospital every night. Ms. Kat is from the Ramapo tribe of NJ and NY, she’s also Montauk, her name is Spirit Dancer. When we were in the KEXP radio station in July, that was the song that came to my mind - the Honor Song. I didn’t know how sick Ms. Kat really was, until I came home and she passed away in August. This song lingers because we lost her since we recorded it. When I sing this song I think of her the whole time. It’s a part of my prayer, I end each day singing this song and I know she’s listening. “Honor Song” is a travel song, when people leave this world they travel to another dimension, and songs like this reach them."
Today, which is Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Medicine Singers (the collective started by Eastern Medicine Singers and guitarist Yonatan Gat) unveil their powerful new track “Honor Song,” featuring Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth) on guitar, Timothy Herzog (Godspeed You! Black Emperor), Thor Harris (Swans) on drums, Dean Running Deer Robinson playing powwow drum, and Ojibwe Canadian artist Zoon, making their debut with the collective on backing vocals. “Honor Song” is a dedication to loved ones who have passed, namely the vocalist Arthur Red Medicine Crippen’s partner Kathleen, who he lovingly refers to in his statement as Ms. Kat, as well as beloved Medicine Singers collaborator and jazz musician jaimie branch. The track was recorded two weeks after branch’s death, in a recording session she was scheduled to appear on.
With their 2022 self-titled debut album garnering universal acclaim from the likes of Pitchfork (“vivid new context for the sound of the powwow drum”) and The New Yorker (“breathes fire, detonating cultural walls”), “Honor Song” marks the first release from the band since that debut, and builds on the group’s groundbreaking approach to Eastern Algonquin powwow music, blending it with elements of spiritual jazz, psychedelic punk and electronic music to create a wholly unique post-genre sound. Recorded live at Hotel2Tango in Montreal, “Honor Song” was produced and mixed by Gat, with help from Sonic Youth co-founder Lee Ranaldo, Swedish electronics maverick and frequent Fever Ray collaborator Peder Mannerfelt, and Josh Berg, who previously worked on albums by Kanye West and Earl Sweatshirt.
On this, his recorded debut with the band, Ranaldo remarked, “Joining the Medicine Singers, both in the recording studio and live on stage, has been a highlight of the last couple years for me. Breaking boundaries and stressing the shared similarities between indigenous music and more modern styles has been a profound, expansive experience. Recording sessions with Native Americans, Canadian First Nations and local Brazilian players, along with an amazing crew of sympathetic collaborators, has, I think, opened up new avenues and ideas for us all. I'm very happy that ‘Honor Song,’ sung so beautifully by Artie Red Medicine Crippen, joined by Zoon's Daniel Monkman, is the first released example that includes my participation in the group. More to come!”
supported by 7 fans who also own “Honor Song (Single)”
Fascinating Senegalese-Swedish project. As the "Collectif" suggests, many musicians are involved. The foundation of the album had been recorded in Senegal under pandemic circumstances, overdubs have been added in Sweden and Senegal. A real cross-cultural endeavour ! Carsten Pieper