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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


January 10, 2004 - Issue 104


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Black Eagle

credits: Photos: Shades of the Southwest Photography

Black Eagle is from the Pueblo of Jemez in New Mexico. The group originated in 1989 under the leadership of Malcom Yepa, after a family trip to Lame Deer, Montana. While in Lame Deer, Malcom was influenced by a family friend, Jimmy Little Coyote, who explained to him, the protocol and ways of the Powwow world. Malcom brought back to Jemez the knowledge given to him and together with his brother David Jr., gathered together a group of cousins and formed the group Black Eagle. The group of teenagers eagerly took on the challenge of learning the songs of some of the more popular groups and started attending and singing at some of the local Powwows. As the group matured they developed a following of local dancers and attendees. Also during that time, the group met and became influenced and encouraged by some of the larger and more popular drum groups, namely Black Lodge from White Swan, Washington.

Black Lodge encouraged Malcom and the boys to start composing their own songs in their own Towa language. As a result of the encouragement, Black Eagle recorded and released their first album under the Indian Sounds label in the Summer of 1995, titled Black Eagle Vol. I, followed by their second release titled Black Eagle Vol. II the following Summer.

During the summer of 1998 the group met and became associated with Tom Bee, lead singer and founder of the legendary 70's group XIT, now owner of Sound of America Records (SOAR). In early 1999 Black Eagle signed with SOAR and recorded their third album titled Black Eagle - Soaring High. The summer of 2000 the fourth recording titled Black Eagle - Star Child was released. Also during that summer the fifth album was recorded, but was not released until early 2001. The album was a collection of round dance and hand drum songs that was titled Black Eagle - Life Goes On, this album was dedicated to Fidel Fragua, one of the original members of the group who was unfortunately called back to the Spirit World earlier that year. In December of 2001 the group was informed by Tom Bee that Life Goes On was nominated for a Grammy Award, and that the group would be attending the 44th Grammy Awards celebration in Los Angeles. Unfortunately the group didn't win the Grammy.

Black Eagle's sixth album was recorded in 2002 and released in March of 2003. It is by far the best recording by Black Eagle and has received much praise and many requests. This recording has also won the Best Powwow Album of the Year award at this years 2003 Native American Music Awards & is nominated for this years 46th Annual Grammy Award!!!

Black Eagle's seventh album is a compilation recording which includes the Southern Drum Group Cozad and the Northern Group Red House, done at the 34th annual Southern California Indian Center Powwow in Costa Mesa, CA. Also, Black Eagle is featured on the just released video recorded at that Powwow.

Black Eagle is: Malcom Yepa (Mouse), Dave Yepa Sr. (Snakes), Dave Yepa Jr. (JB's), Emmett Yepa (Gibbon), Branson Yepa (Kansas), Albert Yepa (Alf), Shawn Yepa (Egg), Henry Tosa (Snoopy), Antonio Blue Eyes (Badger) Shawn Romero (Weasel), Tim Toya (Moose), Kendrick Casiquito (TL), Isaiah Chinana (Roswell), Austin Shendo, Darren Toya, Pat Toya, Curtis Vigil, George Toya(Mgr) ,Cassandra Toledo, Cheryl Chinana and Syreeta Menchago

Black Eagle's eighth album, yet untitled is in the works and will be released soon.

Visit Black Eagle's Web Site for more great photos and information!

Black Eagle

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