Nahko and Medicine for the People

After busily touring the world since his last Adelaide performance, Nahko Bear is finally heading back to SA – this time for an intimate and stunning solo performance.

Nahko is a world-renowned musician, prolific songwriter, and active social and environmental justice advocate. He has worked alongside Winona Laduke on the board of Honor the Earth and has been heavily involved with the resistance of pipelines in the Midwest, the salmon restoration in the Pacific Northwest, and an intertribal youth scholarship program which brings traditional teachings and wisdom to indigenous youth. Nahko is a firm believer in using music as a tool of empowerment to protect and preserve all of creation. Nahko answers a few questions for Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles.

Nahko has chosen a few select locations for his solo tour, which follows his band Medicine for the People’s east coast Bluesfest tour in April. Nahko’s solo shows are something quite special – you’ll be entertained not only with beautiful songs played on both piano and guitar, but also with story telling and a lot of laughs.

How are rehearsals going at the moment?
Great! it’s been fascinating to watch us grow as musicians together over the years. Constantly redefining the songs, our parts, the intricacies, and how we deliver it. We push ourselves pretty hard to create magic.

Do you find new songs fall out of rehearsals?
Not so much new songs, but forms and structure. We definitely work on new songs in rehearsals and lots of fresh ideas come from them!

Are you looking forward to getting back to Australia for Bluesfest and sideshows?
Yes! in my first couple years of touring I spent a lot of time in Australia forming lifelong friendships and memories. It always feels a little like a homecoming. It’s been a long time since we’ve been back out on the road so there’s a lot of fresh perspective and energy to share.

Do you love playing festivals more that intimate club shows?
I like playing both. Both have their magic. Both have their special ability to touch the souls of those who are present. I love being able to practice moving energy in both settings.

Will your set list on this tour cover your entire back catalogue?
No, but an extensive amount!

Will any new songs get a look in?
You’ll have to come and find out…

How is work going on the new album?
Fascinating. Each time is a different journey and this one has not failed to completely surprise me each step of the way. I’ve never actually written to a record before so this has been a very interesting experience. It’s a deep reflection of my journey over the past few years, my humanness, my suffering, my wounds, my joy, my lust for life, my innate desire to share those parts of me with the world.

Does it make it challenging in the studio with seven band members putting their ideas across?
Actually, no. We’ve all been gifted with the ability to co-create in a sensible way. I’ve brought the foundation and they each add their magic. We all know if something isn’t working. We’re still developing a ‘sound’ together – a medicine sound – so we have a lot of patience when we get in the room together.

Will the songs be as personal this time around?
Without a doubt. each year, a transformation. there’s a lot of vulnerability in this whole body of work. I’ll be able to share more soon!

To Australian music lovers how would you describe your music?
There’s something in it for everyone!

What do you look forward to the most when you’re on tour in Australia?
Sharing this fresh perspective through song and getting to witness the Medicine do it’s work. Oh…and kangaroos.

Interview By Rob Lyon

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