Ed Kabotie performed as a one-man-band and shared personal and cultural stories from his Hopi and Tewa Heritage in the Stories To Life series on November 17, 2013, at the Coconino Center for the Arts. Kabotie is an artist in residence at Museum of Northern Arizona and is originally from Santa Clara Pueblo and the Hopi village of Shungopavi.

During the performance, Kabotie switched back and forth between showing photographs and Hopi art with narration to playing different instruments. He played the guitar, flutes, and drums in rotating patterns. With a switch pad on the floor, he could record a set of notes or chords on an instrument and play it back in a loop while he picked up another instrument to play simultaneously. It takes great focus and musicality to maintain a one-person band. His understanding of and employment of the technical “looping” device made the performance complex and intricate.

Stories To Life coordinator, Judy Finney, commented that Ed, “is an exceptional educator/performer…and was a true professional and a pleasure to work with.” Surveys gathered from the performance from audience members consistently reported that the program contributed to their quality of life by providing a better understanding of Native American cultures and current struggles. They were equally impressed with his honesty, vulnerability, sincerity, artistry, strength, and hope. He brought a timeless element of beauty to life by entwining history and song to illuminate the stories of his people.

Ed writes that, “My culture is the greatest inspiration of my music. By mixing genres, languages, and instrumentation, I seek to express the virtues, values, and vices of my people.” This Stories to Life program was notably touching and refreshing and considered by some audience members as one of the best in the series. He is deserving of this award for the passion he has for life and for his heritage. He shares his kindness and understanding of pain from the heart with warmth and compassion.

“It’s like laying on a fluffy cloud, eating cotton candy and receiving a great long hug and the sun coming up in the morning…all at the same time. It doesn’t get much better than that. We need more Ed. Thank you for sharing Ed.” –Anonymous Audience Member

Music by Ed Kabotie: