Greetings, peace, thank you for stopping by to visit!
Come, make yourself at home (I know, it's a little windy here, but the view is great).
This is special place for me, a perch overlooking the lower Muldrow Glacier in Denali National Park, in Alaska. There's good medicine up here.
No, we certainly don't have any mountains where I live in Oulu, Finland. But it's a good land here in Oulu, just the same. We're fortunate to have good water, clean air and - most importantly, we're surrounded by courteous human beings. Gardening can be a bit more challenging with the long winters. I'll have to keep you gize over at Cherry Plain Farms posted on our results. ;)
I'd offer you something to eat or drink, but I'm afraid HTML technology hasn't kept pace with Mohawk custom. Please accept my apologies.
You see, I sit with the Clan in the Mohawk Trail Longhouse. I'm descended from the Kaniekehaken ("People of the Flint", or "Mohawk"), of the Hotinosionni ("People of the Longhouse", or "Iroquois") Confederacy. That's me in the black and white (eight year old) picture at right. I do my best to keep the longhouse tradition strong in my life. Occasionally, you'll find me where my grandfather was born and raised: Kahnawake Reserve outside of Montreal or visiting Alaska, where I was born.
Me and Music?
Woodland Valley, NY, July, 2002. 1980 Martin D-35 Dreadnought, DR Medium Phosphor-Bronze hand-wound strings. Fishman 'Active' pickup system, neck reset/refretted by Dale Bluebond, Bluebond Guitars, Philadelphia, PA, 1992. Yes, well, it is true: I'm also a singer/songwriter, composer (traditional Native American, contemporary and classical music), arranger and recording producer. At left is a picture of me and one of my 'sweeties'.
I've been playing guitar for 38 years (self-taught for the first nine). In 1979 I began studying music at U. Alaska, Fairbanks. It was there, in the spring of 1980, I first heard classical guitar 'wunderkind' Eliot Fisk in concert. His first encores, three Paganini caprices he'd only JUST finished transcribing, were followed by the most transcendant 'Recuerdas D'Alhambra' (Francisco Tarrega) I'd ever heard.
I was hooked. That summer I began master classes led by Eliot and his teacher, Oscar Ghilia in Aspen, CO. I returned in'81 and '83.
In 1982 I transferred to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. By 1986, I'd completed BM Classical Guitar Performance studies under Peter Segal.
In those four years, U. Arts had become rife with collaborative opportunities blending dance, music, theatre, film and sculpture. I stayed through 1988 studying composition and orchestration, while participating in a multitude of collaborative opportunities.
For the next nine years I wrote (music and plays), arranged, recorded, produced, conducted and performed music and dramatic works commissioned for theatre productions, dance companies, film and choral and instrumental ensembles in major cities in California, Colorado, New York, Pennsylvania and Alaska. The photo at right is from '94.
But in 1995 I took a sabbatical. In the ensuing 13 years I grew up, matured, released a few counter-productive stories or 'flama'. I got married, moved to New York, worked for IBM for awhile, lost a sister to cancer, got divorced, moved to New Mexico. I began recovering my passion for making music for music's sake.
In 2007 I began working on a debut CD, Facets. I began with Prophecy, a remake of a Native instrumental piece I wrote and recorded with Robert Yellowwolf in 1995. The new version of Prophecy features Ron Warren on Native American Flute and fellow Mohawk Dawn Avery on cello. Prophecy is now in post-production.
By February 2008, I'd recorded two jazz originals ("For My Father" and Feelings of Missing You) at the Widener University's digital studio Philadelphia. Co-producing and accompanying was none other than brilliant pianist, Tom Lawton, joined by the world-beloved Larry McKenna on tenor, Dan Monaghan on drums, Paul Gehman on upright and Andy Wilson on chromatic harmonica. Both are now in post-production
By July 08, I'd begun recording two more originals, Mountain Man and The Musher. I moved to Finland to begin building a jazz act for touring in Germany. My debut in a concert of Oulu's Uuden Musiikin Lokakuu Festival was a success and also the only concert broadcast on Finland's YLE 1 national radio. Click here to listen.
A performance and recording at Tervasoihtu in early January 2010 of my latin arrangement of the Beatles' Yesterday was a success; I began working on a big band arrangement of Bob Dylan's One Too Many Mornings for the Oulu All Star Big Band, and continuing work on orchestrating Bach's Prelude & Fugue in Bb minor (#22, Well Tempered Clavier) for the Oulu Symphony Orchestra.
If you're interested in more rough samples of some of my 'works in progress' check this page out.
Performing blues/folk in Philadelphia in the 90s.
Me and Alaska?
Well, my connection with Alaska is a sort of biographical story - a sort of 'work in progress'. If you'd rather avoid this (rather droll, in my opinion) history of my childhood, why not scoot over to a page about Denali's Medicine? Enjoy.....and thank you for honoring me with your patience in reading this far, so I could share these parts of myself with you!
Thank you and come back again! Niawen koa tanon oneh kiwahi!
You can email me at:
aj_rice at (@) ravendancing.com
Links of Interest......