BLUES BAND INDIGENOUS RETURNS TO ITS NATIVE ROOTS

IN 1998, A BAND OF YOUNG SIBLINGS FROM THE YANKTON SIOUX RESERVATION IN SOUTH DAKOTA BURST ONTO THE BLUES SCENE WITH THEIR FIRST COMMERCIAL RELEASE THINGS WE DO.

THEY WERE INDIGENOUS. 

LED BY GUITARIST/VOCALIST MATO NANJI, AND BACKED BY HIS BROTHER PTE ON BASS, SISTER WANBDI ON DRUMS, AND PERCUSSIONIST AMERICAN HORSE, THE BAND QUICKLY CAUGHT THE ATTENTION OF THE BLUES WORLD: B.B. KING WOULD BOOK THEM ON HIS 1999 BLUES TOUR; STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN FRIEND AND COLLABORATOR DOYLE BRAMHALL WOULD PRODUCE THEIR 2000 SOPHOMORE RELEASE CIRCLE; AN INVITE FROM THE JIMI HENDRIX ESTATE TO JOIN THE CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED EXPERIENCE HENDRIX TOUR WOULD COME IN 2002…

INDIGENOUS TOURED RELENTLESSLY AND PRODUCED SEVERAL MORE CDS BEFORE A 2006 DECISION LED THE FAMILY TO CHOOSE DIFFERENT MUSICAL PATHS.

AS FRONT MAN OF THE GROUP, MATO NANJI CARRIED ON WITH THE MUSIC AND THE BAND’S NAME.  ON SUBSEQUENT INDIGENOUS RELEASES; 2010’S BROKEN LANDS, 2012’S VANSIHING AMERICANS, AND 2014’S TIME IS COMING, NANJI WOULD DESCRIBE THE HARDSHIP AND STRUGGLE OFTENTIMES FOUND IN LIFE ON THE INDIGENOUS RESERVATION, ALL WHILE HOLDING OUT HOPE FOR A BETTER TOMORROW.  

IN 2005, A FAMILY BLUES BAND FROM THE NAVAJO NATION IN TOHAJIILEE, NM PERFORMED AT THE LARGEST POWWOW IN THE WORLD, “THE GATHERING OF NATIONS”.

THEY WERE LEVI & THE PLATEROS.

LED BY LEVI PLATERO, THE 13 YEAR OLD GUITARIST SLID ACROSS THE STAGE WITH POWER CHORDS AND SCREAMING BLUES THAT AMAZED THE PACKED CROWD.  MANY NOMINATIONS FOR NATIVE MUSIC AND VIDEO AWARDS WOULD FOLLOW, INCLUDING A WIN FOR BEST BLUES ALBUM FOR HANG ON AT THE 2009 NEW MEXICO MUSIC AWARDS.  THEIR STYLE REMINISCENT OF LOS LONELY BOYS AND INDIGENOUS, THE PLATEROS-LEVI AND HIS COUSINS DOUGLAS PLATERO (DRUMS) AND BRONSON BEGAY (BASS AND BACKING VOCALS) WOULD SOON FIND THEMSELVES SHARING BILLS WITH THEIR MUSICAL INFLUENCES.

IN 2012, INDIGENOUS AND THE PLATEROS EMBARKED ON THE KINSHIP TOUR THAT TOOK THEM ACROSS THE UNITED STATES.  THE PLATEROS OPENED THE DOUBLE BILL AND WOULD THEN JOIN INDIGENOUS FOR BLISTERING ENCORES THAT PROCEEDED TO BRING THE PROVERBIAL HOUSE DOWN. 

TOURING IN SUPPORT OF TIME IS COMING IN THE SUMMER OF 2014, MATO NANJI AGAIN CALLED UPON LEVI, BRONSON AND DOUGLAS TO HIT THE ROAD WITH HIM.  THIS TIME, THOUGH, WOULD BE DIFFERENT.  THEY WOULD BE THE INDIGENOUS RHYTHM SECTION. MATO AND LEVI WOULD TRADE OFF LEADS AND SOLOS, WITH BRONSON AND DOUGLAS PROVIDING A STRONG, STABLE FOUNDATION THAT ALLOWED THE TWO GUITARISTS TO ‘TEAR IT UP’. 

AS THEY MADE THEIR WAY ACROSS THE EAST COAST, THE AFTER SHOW AUDIENCE ‘BUZZ’ WAS AUDIBLE. THE INCENDIARY CHEMISTRY OF MATO NANJI, LEVI PLATERO, BRONSON BEGAY AND DOUGLAS PLATERO INNATE…     

THEY ARE INDIGENOUS  

Photo by: Whittling Fog Photography 8-16-14