mixing ancient American Indian music and dances with rap, hip-hop
and rave culture, two Indian artists have brought a new kind of
tribal rhythm and style into the 21st Century.
as the Tekcno Pow wow artists, Bently Spang, a Northern Cheyenne,
and Bert Benally, a Navajo, have spent much of their lives searching
for ways to attack the stereotypical views of Indian people as being
stoic, unemotional, or one dimensional.
want to show that the Indian of the future is cool and sexy,"
Pow wow is a form of artwork that incorporates techno/rave-style
performances that features dancers, techno music, music-sensitive
robotic elements, and an interactive large-scale projected video.
combining dance, music, video, and culture, the two artists have
created a new form of expression for all youths to come together
in an intense atmosphere of mixed rhythms, lights and entertainment.
April 17, the two artists are planning to host a Tekcno Pow wow
at the Montana Artists Refuge in Basin from 8 p.m. to midnight.
event is a scaled-down version of a "mini-rave" for area
local community drum group, the Magpie Singers, will be drumming
and singing throughout the evening.
has created a character known as the Blue Guy, an exaggerated character
depicting a techno-Indian.
obvious differences and not so obvious similarities, native and
techno/rave cultures have sampled from other cultures to support
their own core identity.
Tekcno Pow wow was designed to showcase the similarities of the
cultures by using dance, interactive/robotic technologies and music.
and Benally are in-residence at the Montana Artists Refuge in Basin
during the month of April. Spang's recent public commissions include
Indian 101-Duct Tape and Bailing Wire for Survival; The Identity
Project: Garden of Cultural Delights, and Hoxovestave (Journey Across
is an installation artist/techno DJ from New Mexico. He also is
secretary/treasurer of the Shiprock Boys and Girls Club.
runs his own music program in Shiprock called Golizhi, which in
Navajo means skunk.
named it like that because of the Navajo story of a skunk that overtook
the coyote" he said.
two artists met in 1993 while attending the University of Wisconsin,
where they started to learn about the similarities between the beat
of a traditional Indian drum and rap, hip-hop and rave music.
of it pulls people out on the floor," said Spang. "I can't
stand to just watch."
said the music and dancing brings rich, poor, rappers, hip-hop artists,
and punks together.
pair started to develop the idea of creating a Tekcno Pow wow in
decided to experiment with techno and native beats together,"
Cheyenne break-dance artist, Marcus Lopez will kick off what's known
as B-Boy Battles.
this unique competition, 16-year-old Lopez will challenge traditional
Indian dancers and others in a high- powered dance competition.
has been a competitor in various dance competitions throughout the
for this event has been provided by the Allen Foundation for the
Arts. The foundation supports projects and organizations that advance
the visual, performing, and literary arts.