Photo by Tim Bugbee
To commemorate Indigenous Peoples' Day yesterday, Medicine Singers released a brand new single. The collective started by Eastern Medicine Singers and guitarist Yonatan Gat enlisted Lee Ranaldo on "Honor Song." The new song is dedicated to loved ones who have passed, particularly vocalist Arthur Red Medicine Crippen's wife Kathleen and frequent Medicine Singers collaborator jamie branch, who died two weeks before the song was recorded. "Honor Song" is an unbelievably powerful track, combining traditional Eastern Algonquin powwow music with jazz, psychedelic punk, and electronic music. Combining such a traditional form of music with newer more experimental ones could have gone very wrong, but Medicine Singers have created one of the most vital songs of the year with "Honor Song." Even if traditional powwow music doesn't sound like your typical thing, I implore you to take five minutes out of your day to listen to the entire song. Chances are, you're not going to regret it.
Arthur Red Medicine Crippen says of the new song:
“'Honor Song' was given to me by my uncle Wayne Red Dawn Crippen. When my wife Ms. Kat wasn’t feeling well I used to sing it to her when she was in the hospital every night. Ms. Kat is from the Ramapo tribe of NJ and NY, she’s also Montauk, her name is Spirit Dancer. When we were in the KEXP radio station in July, that was the song that came to my mind - the Honor Song. I didn’t know how sick Ms. Kat really was, until I came home and she passed away in August. This song lingers because we lost her since we recorded it. When I sing this song I think of her the whole time. It’s a part of my prayer, I end each day singing this song and I know she’s listening. 'Honor Song' is a travel song, when people leave this world they travel to another dimension, and songs like this reach them."