Indigenous Perspectives Honored with Performances from Silkroad Ensemble and Indigenous Enterprise


On October 10, the Center for the Arts honors Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and looks forward to upcoming performances this season by Pura Fé with Silkroad Ensemble and Indigenous Enterprise. In addition to their respective Great Performances at Mason events this spring, the companies will participate in the Mason Artist-in-Residence program, working closely with the community through classes, workshops, and discussions.

Lap-steel slide guitarist Pura Fé joins Silkroad Ensemble with Uplifted Voices at the Center for the Arts on January 29.
Lap-steel slide guitarist Pura Fé joins Silkroad Ensemble at the Center on January 29.

On January 29, the GRAMMY Award-winning Silkroad Ensemble, founded by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, debuts their newest program Uplifted Voices at the Center, the first performance as part of their three-year arc as a Mason Artist-in-Residence. Championing women and non-binary members of the Silkroad Ensemble alongside special guest Tuscarora/Taíno musician Pura Fé, Uplifted Voices weaves a musical tapestry connecting the sounds and rhythms of indigenous North America to the World. The San Francisco Chronicle said of artist and activist Pura Fé, whose name means “Pure faith”: “Fabulous ... astonishing ... playing searing, slicing, lap-style bottleneck guitar, Tuscarora tribe descendant Pura Fé blends world beat rhythms with Southern blues and her own powerful vocals.”

Drawing inspiration from the folk and ancestral music of Japan, China, Armenia, Ireland, the Hebrides, and native populations across North America, the Silkroad ensemble shines a light on previously under-recognized voices from across the globe with this program, to change our perspective of the history and migration of music. Silkroad Ensemble’s radical cultural collaboration seeks to build bridges of understanding to combat fear and build a more hopeful and inclusive world. Today, under the artistic direction of celebrated singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens, the Silkroad Ensemble leads social impact initiatives and educational programming alongside the creation of new music that celebrates the exchange of ideas, tradition, and innovation across borders.

Indigenous Enterprise performs Indigenous Liberation at the Center for the Arts on April 29.
Indigenous Enterprise performs at the Center on April 29.

Concluding the Center for the Arts’ Great Performances at Mason 2022-2023 season, Indigenous Enterprise performs on April 29. Indigenous Enterprise is on a mission to proudly share their heritage and culture through explosively joyous authentic dance and song. Comprised of champion dancers from Native American and Canadian tribes and Nations, this group first stunned crowds at the Sydney Opera House in 2018 and has been on the rise since. “Indigenous Enterprise is rooted in tradition but also has hip-hop influences, discernible in footwork, bounce, and especially attitude,” writes The New York Times. They have appeared in music videos, NBC’S World of Dance, and President Biden’s virtual inauguration parade. The group’s newest work, Indigenous Liberation, recently debuted at The Joyce Theater to glowing praise. “In their traditional regalia, these dancers freestyle as the young people they are,” says The New Yorker. Indigenous Liberation invites its audience to revel in the pageantry, history, and kaleidoscope of colors in a celebration of what lies at the heart of these powerful traditions.

Originally proposed by Indigenous peoples at the 1977 United Nations conference, Indigenous Peoples’ Day has become a crucial part of American culture and identity. The Center for the Arts looks forward to promoting the legacy and history of Indigenous peoples now and always.