Music is the center of any festival, and Milwaukee’s Indian Summer festival (this Friday, September 9th – Sunday, September 11th) is not only a festival to absorb sounds, but history, with performances often paired with dance in tradition with Native American culture. The 2011 Indian Summer festival music lineup spans performances from Joanne Shenandoah, Jonny Lipford, Wayne Lavallee, October Soul and the Flying Feather Band. According to VisitMilwaukee.org, “this is the largest Native American festival in the United States,” taking place on Milwaukee’s lakefront at the Henry Maier Festival Park.
Part of the performance lineup includes Grammy Award winner Joanne Shenandoah (watch the video, above), an Iroquois singer who is known for combining traditional Native American music with modern instrumentation. Shenandoah is not only a singer and composer, but a direct descendent of the clan of which Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley is named for, and an avid educator, lecturer and actress. Joanne Shenandoah is history, walking, and Neil Young himself, said it best when he pointed out that “Joanne Shenandoah is one of the finest tributes to Native American Music and Culture.”