Nelly Furtado, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ayi Jihu add star power to Native American Music Awardsby jmaloni
Event set for Friday night at Seneca Niagara Events Center in Niagara Falls; 14th annual awards show nearly cancelled due to "Superstorm" Sandy
When Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel proudly hosts the Native American Music Awards for the sixth consecutive year this Friday, it will also be the site for some serious star power. International superstars Nelly Furtado, Rickey Medlocke of Lynyrd Skynyrd and China's Ayi Jihu will be among the awardees and award presenters during a 14th annual awards show that was nearly cancelled due to "Superstorm" Sandy last fall.
Limited tickets starting at $20 are still available for Friday's show, which starts at 8 p.m. in the Seneca Niagara Events Center. The Native American Music Awards honors North American's top native musicians in 30 distinct categories and will feature more than a dozen live performances and collaborations. Canadian comic Don Kelly will emcee the event.
Furtado will receive the Living Legend Award during the event for her leadership and contributions toward the advancement of Native American culture. For her single "Big Hoops" from her current album "The Spirit Indestructible," she featured Native American hoop dancer Tony Duncan in the music video, and the two have performed together throughout the past year for MTV's Video Music Awards, the Billboard Music Awards, "The Tonight Show" and more. Furtado has sold 20 million albums worldwide, won two Grammy Awards and 10 Juno Awards, and has a star on Canada's Walk of Fame.
Medlocke, the founder of Southern rock group Blackfoot and current guitarist for legendary rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd, will be joined by Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Joanne Shenandoah on stage to induct the late Russell Means into the Native American Music Awards Hall of Fame. Means, a Native American activist, musician and actor in "The Last of the Mohicans," passed away in October. Medlocke himself is a member the Hall of Fame, is nominated for two awards this year, and will perform on stage with Blackfoot.
Jihu, dubbed "China's Madonna" in an article by the BBC, will join top Native American fashion designer Angela DeMontigny and musician Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson to present an award. Jihu has purportedly sold more than 100 million albums in China and is currently working with DeMontigny to promote the "FearChaser" anti-bullying campaign. Williams-Davidson is nominated for two categories at this year's event, and recently received honors at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards.
The 14th Annual Native American Music Awards was originally scheduled for Friday, Nov. 30, but was postponed until Friday, May 10. "Superstorm" Sandy completely destroyed the home of the award show's president and founder, Ellen Bello - which nearly led to a full cancellation of the event. Bello believes this year's program is "better than ever" and a "testament to all who support Native American music."
Limited tickets for Friday's event are available at Seneca Casino box offices, www.Ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster locations or by phone at 800-745-3000. The Seneca Niagara Events Center will be at half-size - 1,200 seats - to provide audience members a closer connection to presenters, awardees and performers.
To learn more about the Native American Music Awards, visit www.NAMAlive.com.
For more information on the venue,visit www.SenecaCasinos.com.