Sunday, July 17, 2011

Native American internet radio

Hey, it's good to see some activity on the blog again! Remember, this can be a forum for discussion as well as memories and stories. It doesn't have to be about KCAC and its personalities - it can carry that tradition forward, too.

In that spirit, here's an unusual suggestion: among the many fine radio stations that can be accessed through "live streaming" on the internet, try those affiliated with Native American communities. They are truly off the radar for all but a tiny fraction of the listening public, yet they can offer some really remarkable programming. Here are my favorites:

KTNN,"Voice of the Navajo Nation" based in Window Rock, Arizona, at (copy and paste into your browser). I swear, within a period of one hour I heard Lady Gaga, George Jones, the Rolling Stones, Native American drum songs, local country and rock bands, and talk segments that switch back and forth, often within the same sentence, from the Navajo language to English. Talk about variety! Like other Indian radio stations, it's geared toward local (usually rural) audiences, and maybe there's a bit too much conventional modern country music for my taste, but it does have a little bit of that freewheeling KCAC style where you're never quite sure what's going to happen next. There are real live DJ's, no corporate play lists, and the station is genuinely connected to the community that it serves. Sound quality on this stream is excellent.

KOHN, serving the Tohono O'odham Nation in Sells, Arizona, Highly eclectric, with programming blocks dedicated to everything under the sun: country, reggae, metal, oldies, 80's rock, roots/rockabilly, gospel, and news/talk in both O'odham and English. Best of all (because you won't hear it anywhere else)is waila, a unique and highly localized form of dance music that blends the amplified sounds of accordion, saxophone, bajo sexto, bass, and drums/percussion. Much of it resembles polka and norteno music, but cumbias are also popular and there are links to country, rock, blues, brass bands, and even polyrhythmic jazz explorations. Here's a YouTube link to a good cumbia-derived example: (Note: KOHN uses a very narrow bandwidth so sound quality suffers accordingly, but then KCAC was never excatly hi-fi either.)

Come on, all you aging KCAC fans - try something genuinely new and different! Corporate radio sucks, so these Native American stations present alternatives that I'll bet you never even knew existed. They're acquired tastes, to be sure, but give them a chance!

Monday, July 04, 2011


Don't know why Art Garfunkel never did any songwriting. He was always so lyrical just in his normal conversation. Stumbled across this old documentary from 1969 (with German subtitles, no less!), and felt compelled to share his comments on America, in celebration of the holiday we observe today:

"People from so many different countries came here and made this conglomeration. And we're like shy children, we have to look around and say, 'There's a Chinese kid in my class, there's a black boy.' Our group is so varied. And here we are together, and we have to warm up slowly, and look at each other, under our brows, sort of embarrassed.
And I think we all see the value of getting together. Here we are, we have this country. We can do great things. We have a spotlight on us. We have the power to do great things. And I think we all feel it's tremendously valuable for us to fuse. But it's very difficult.
All human beings have this wish to take their inner self and fuse it with the rest of humanity. And insofar as they're unable to do that, they're constantly reminded of this obstacle.
They defend it, they find reasons to keep their isolation as a necessary ingredient of their beliefs or whatever. But it's not true to what they feel."

Here's to independence, but also to fusion.