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In Tongue Short Promo Video

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"In Tongue" is a new music video collaboration uplifting the vibrancy of Indigenous cultures and the resilience of the human spirit.  

One afternoon, in the homelands of the Kaw and Osage nations, contemporary choreographer Maura García (non-enrolled Cherokee/Mattamuskeet) danced to the music of Navajo-fronted hip hop/jazz/funk fusion band, DDAT, in front of a mural featuring Osage design and language, created by visual artist Mona Cliff (A'aniih/Nakota). The result? A multilayered music video uniting Indigenous artists across genres and miles.  

The music, a song entitled "In Tongue", was composed by DDAT (Delbert Anderson, Chris Bidtah, Nicholas Lucero, Mike McCluhan). Delbert and Maura are both currently fellows in Western Arts Alliance's prominent Native Launchpad program. At Delbert's suggestion, Maura choreographed a dance specifically for "In Tongue". They wanted the collaboration to uplift people's spirits, especially in the time of COVID-19. 

Guided by the up-tempo rhythms of the music and the rapid-fire lyrics of DDAT rapper Chris Bidtah (Navajo), Maura created joyful, rhythm-based choreography.  Though the musicians of DDAT are based in the southwestern homelands of the Navajo Nation, Maura resides in the traditional territory of the Kaw and Osage nations (aka Lawrence, KS). To record a video bringing together all of those dynamics, Maura approached Lawrence-based artist Mona Cliff about performing in front of her mural. It is a part of Mona's "Natives NOW" project and is a celebration of the intertribal Native community. With Mona's vibrant mural as a backdrop, Maura worked with First Peoples Fund artist fellow James Pakootas (Colville Confederated Tribes) to capture different angles to make the viewing experience more engaging for an audience who may not be able to come and see live performance any time soon.

The artists are thrilled to have found a way to collaborate across the miles. All acknowledge that despite the disastrous effects of COVID-19, the pause has caused artists to devise creative and more sustainable ways to collaborate with one another. 

Verses from "In Tongue" written by Chris Bidtah aka Def-i (Navajo):

"Literally living in the minute with no misery No limiting admitted within our infinite energySpit it so vividly fitted with wisdom and memoriesSerenity heals reveals our hidden identity Listen to the melody it's giving you amenities And even with a felony you breathe into infinity We're giving it our everything to fit in your vicinity"

Support the work:  paypal.me/InTongueMusicVideo

Artistic Direction/Choreography: mauragarciadance.org/Artwork: ; monacliff.com/Music: ; delbertanderson.com/projects#ddatVideography: ; jamespakootas.com/

This video was made with support from Western Arts Alliance's Native Launchpad program and an ArtsKC Inspiration Grant. Mona Cliff's public art is a East Ninth Artist project funded by an ArtPlace America grant and supported by The Lawrence Arts Center and the East Lawrence Neighborhood Association.

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