Chickasaw Times - Online Version
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18 chickasaw times September 2013 Band signs on with Canyon Records Native band 'Injunuity' finds receptive listeners on Swiss tour Injunuity members Jeff Carpenter, on guitar, and Brad Clonch, on Native flute, perform a song Photo courtesy of Richard Barron, Ada Magazine. in their office prior to being interviewed. ADA, Okla. – Musicians Brad Clonch and Jeff Carpenter, better known as the Native American band Injunuity, have inked a record deal with an Arizona company. Phoenix-based Canyon Records and Injunuity came to agreement almost a year ago. Canyon will release the band's third compact disc Fight For Survival. The 2010 release won the band Songwriter of the Year honors at the Native American Music Awards, or "Nammy." Nammy awards are the equivalent to mainstream music's Grammy Awards. "They (Canyon) are one of the largest distributors of Native American music nationally and internationally," Mr. Clonch said. "They took the album and are redesigning the artwork. They are reproducing the recording tracks to give it more of a flare that they are accustomed to in terms of the Native flute. We signed on with them a year ago in October and they've been reworking Fight For Survival over the last year. "Instead of Jeff and I selling CDs out of the trunk of our cars, it will be released to stores," he said. "Our music will be available in many locations. People will know 'hey, here's this new sound, this new band'," he said. The musicians are expecting release of Canyon's version of Fight For Survival soon. With the release, they expect to become busier performing at Native American festivals and venues nationally and internationally. Not that they aren't already busy. In fact, Mr. Clonch, a Choctaw citizen who plays Native flute and is an accomplished pianist, and Mr. Carpenter, a Chickasaw citizen and multi-talented guitarist and saxophone player, recently ventured to Switzerland for a Native American concert known as Apache Moon. They departed Oklahoma in July and returned home about a week later. Each raves about the experience, the welcome they received and how they were able to do radio and television interviews to inform people about their music, Chickasaw history and culture. The festival's organizer, Davide Buzzi, is interested in Native American music and culture. He organized the festival in Semione, Switzerland, approximately 10 years ago. Both musicians said the opportunity to visit with Europeans and share what it means to be Native American was exciting. Both work for the Chickasaw Nation. Carpenter is Chickasaw and Clonch is Mississippi Choctaw. "There are still a lot of stereotypes about Native Americans, especially (in Europe)," Mr. Clonch said. "A lot of them think we still live on reservations, ride horses, and live in teepees. It's actually very cool. Instead of them coming to America, we traveled to Europe to share our culture with them." The pair explained to European media while some tribes did live in teepees, the Chickasaws had villages comprised of summer homes and winter homes made of mud huts with a thatch roof. "We were able to educate Touring the area near Semonie, Switzerland, in July was a treat for Injunuity. Taking a break from media interviews and concert activities are, from left, Brad Clonch and his wife, Michelle; Lauren Carpenter and Jeff Carpenter, concert organizer Davide Buzzi, and interpreters Giorgia Schmid and Kay Buzzi. them on that and show them it's not always what Hollywood portrays," Mr. Clonch said. "We were able to teach them some Chickasaws words and we sat down for many interviews where we talked about the Chickasaw Nation, how it was removed from the ancestral home lands and how it has thrived and continues to thrive in Oklahoma." With a newly-released fourth CD titled Spirits, a recording contract, and interest in the group spreading globally, Injunuity hit the road again this month. A two-day festival celebrating Native Americans occurs annually in Tuscumbia, Ala. Injunuity made its sixth appearance there in as many years. "That festival is probably one of the biggest reasons we still exist," Mr. Carpenter said. "The reception we get out there was just unbelievable." "You really don't get that kind of reception in Oklahoma because the state is so saturated with Native people," Mr. Clonch said. "When you go to an area where people don't experience (Native music) every day, they are just in awe of it." Contributed by Gene Lehmann, Media Relations. Chickasaw Summer Leadership Academy Danny Wells, executive officer of Chickasaw Nation Education Services, and staff from Southeastern Oklahoma State University on July 18 recognized Chickasaw students who participated in the Chickasaw Summer Leadership Academy. Students spent two weeks learning about college preparation and the ins and outs of university life. Back row from left, Emily Duty, Deondre Kendrick, Joshua NeeSmith and Kevin Hickman. Middle row from left, Dr. Larry Minks, Chris Wesberry, Thirkiel Wedlow, Tristen Wood and Patrick Cook. Front row from left, Talisa Smith, Savannah Brown, Nakoma Hazlett, Diamond Hill, Braelan Thompson, Tristian Wilson, Melissa Ellis, Liz McCraw and Danny Wells.