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Hip Hop in Moccasins

Sequoia Crosswhite performing at the Journey Museum.

Sequoia Crosswhite performing at the Journey Museum.

RAPID CITY – Celebrating the Music of the Dakotah’s wouldn’t be complete without the inclusion of its indigenous people. The Journey Museum & Learning Center’s exhibit, “The Music and Immigrants of the Dakotahs” concluded a summer series with Rapid City’s own celebrated Native musician, Sequoia Crosswhite.

Sequoia’s ability to transcend all music genres, from traditional Lakota songs, to his melodic flute music, to the music of rock and roll legend Jimi Hendrix had a mesmerizing effect on the audience last Friday evening.

Not only did Sequoia entertain the crowd with his musical talent, he educated with his Lakota stories. One especially noteworthy story was about Ite Sica (bad face) who was burned as a child and as a result lived a lonely life. His relationship with Zintkala (the birds) led to the creation of the Shiyo Tanka (flute) which eventually helped him find love.

“Cantekiya (Love) is something you don’t possess, it’s something you do,” was the lesson he conveyed through his Shiyo Tanka.

“When I was younger I didn’t plan on playing the flute,” he said and that it was a trip through Prairie Edge in downtown Rapid City and an encounter with renowned Flutist Lakota George that created this next generation of Lakota flute players.

Sequoia, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe grew up in Rapid City and graduated from Central High School. He became acquainted with wind instruments while in school when he experimented with the clarinet, a feat which would enable him to master differing tones on his cache of flutes, each with its unique sound.

Crosswhite captivated the audience with his musical abilities as he played two flutes, then he worked his magic fingers to “Make everyone feel alright” as he played his little guitar and flutes at the same time.

In an amazing array of his talent he entertained the audience with a Hip Hop song then took them on a journey into the world of Rock and Roll with the Jimi Hendrix’s “Red Man’s Cry”

“I hear my red man cry each and every day of my life,” he sang. The words which appear to be a mantra to the legacy of Hendricks and many other music legends like him.

He then allowed the audience to see his softer side when he performed “The Only Thing I Need is Love.”

Crosswhite, who works at Children’s Home Society as a Cultural Advisor, said he just returned from Zurich Switzerland where he performed “Hip Hop in Moccasins.”

You can catch this multitalented artist during Native American Day Celebrations on October 8, at Main Street Square.

“Sequoia’s ability to educate and talk about Lakota History and heritage through music is great,” said Troy Kilpatrick, Executive Director of the Journey Museum. “What was even more exciting was Sequoia’s ability to bring the music to today with Blues and Hip Hop.”

Sequoia’s performance was part of the First Friday performances as part of in the Exhibit “The Music and Immigrants of the Dakotahs” and is part of the 2018 Showcase Series at The Journey Museum & Learning Center sponsored by KNBN – NewsCenter1.

The series highlights how music affected homesteader’s lives, and for generations afterward, how it shaped their American identities. This exhibit is made possible through a multi-effort collaboration between The Journey Museum & Learning Center, The National Music Museum in Vermillion, SD, and The Minnilusa Historical Association.

Other First Friday community gatherings showcasing the various cultures that called Dakotah Territory their home included:

May 4 – The Bower Family Band

June 1 – Capt. Jack Crawford

July 6 – Kenny Putnam

August 3 – Jewish Klezmer

September 7 – Sequoia Crosswhite

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