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(Many Paths)
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Indigenous To Release Anniversary Album
by Christina Good Voice -Native American Times Correspondent
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The new album, The Acoustic Sessions: A 10 Year Anniversary, will be released June 8, and is the seventh full-length album under the Indigenous nameplate.

Sioux Falls, S.D. – Indigenous' Mato Nanji is preparing to embark on the next chapter of the Native blues band's story with a 10-year anniversary album and world tour.

Indigenous, whose original lineup comprised Nanji, his brother Pte on bass, sister Wanbdi on drums and vocals and cousin Horse on percussion, now is led by Nanji, who plays with a new lineup of musicians.

Working with new musicians took some getting used to, but has its benefits too, he said.

"Working with my family, like any band, (was) always tough," Nanji said. "With family it just makes it that much harder, especially brothers and sisters. We got along fine; it's just one of those things where everyone doesn't see eye to eye after a while. I think that happens with every group."

The family recorded five full-length albums and a pair of EPs together before deciding to take separate musical paths. Nanji retained the Indigenous name.

The new album, The Acoustic Sessions: A 10 Year Anniversary, will be released June 8, and is the seventh full-length album under the Indigenous nameplate.

"I wanted to do something special to thank all the Indigenous fans out there for supporting us from the beginning, and for the continued support as we open a new chapter with this album," Nanji said.

Though the anniversary album includes songs from past albums such as "Things We Do," "Now That You're Gone," "Little Time," "Should I Stay" and "Fool Me Again," it's diverse in that it's an acoustic album.

"This is the first acoustic record I've ever done so I'm pretty excited about getting it out and seeing what the fans think about it," Nanji said.

He said every song he's ever written began with the acoustic guitar, so it only felt natural to create an acoustic album.

The band had discussed an acoustic album in the past but never had the opportunity to do it, but recently it all fell into place, he said.

Nanji's manager, Chris Hardin of Hardin Entertainment, approached Nanji about doing the anniversary album with acoustic versions of favorite Indigenous songs.

"That's when we talked about putting it together as a celebration of 10 years of making music as Indigenous, starting with the first record which was ‘Things We Do,' in 1998 to the most recent one, ‘Broken Land' in 2008," Nanji said. "We just took a couple songs off each record and put them on there and went from there."

Nanji, who is a citizen of the Nakota Nation, said his culture has had a hand in Indigenous' music.

"Just growing up where I grew up on the reservation, it definitely had a part in who I am," Nanji said. "In what I do, the way I make music and play music. My dad helped me through that. I'm always going to hang on to part of that because that's who I am."

Nanji's father, Greg Zephier, was the one who introduced Nanji to blues and guitar playing. Zephier was also a musician who later was a spokesman for Native American rights. Nanji credits Zephier, who died in 1999, as his biggest influence.

"My dad got it going for me," he said. "He brought the records home, and when I was trying to learn guitar licks off of Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughn records, he'd be able to hear it once and show me how they did it."

Indigenous' tour kicks off June 4 in Sioux Falls, S.D., which is also where Nanji and his wife Leah reside.

"The shows are piling in pretty quick," Nanji said. "I think as soon as the album comes out it's going to be a pretty long tour. We'll go all over the place pretty much. We're finally getting the opportunity to go to Europe in September.

"I've always wanted to get over there and get our music over there more and we've never really had that opportunity."

Nanji said he's excited to take blues music to Europe.

"If there's a goal or future plan that's what it is – to take it to the world," he said. "I always hear a lot of stories about blues and rock bands traveling over there. The fans really like that kind of music over there."

Music gets lost in America some, Nanji said.

"People tend to follow more what's on TV or what's popular," he said. "A lot of times, a lot of the people that are on there and that are the most popular aren't very talented in my eyes. It's a frustrating deal too for a lot of great musicians that are out there that are still working hard and doing their thing."

Despite the changes over the years, Nanji said there's one thing he's never stopped doing.

"I haven't really ever stopped making music," he said. "I've just kept it going. I just felt it was the right thing to keep the Indigenous name going because that's what it was all about for me. That's what I've been trying to do ever since."

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