On stage, John Two-Hawks is regal, mystical, mesmerizing audiences as the ethereal notes of the flute float skyward in a salute to the Lakota Sioux spirits.
Off stage, the Eureka Springs musician is the Energizer bunny of Native American performers. His new album, "American Shaman," is his 28th in a career spanning 23 years. On every release, Two-Hawks finds a new path for his encompassing message of peace, and this time, it's the intersection of music and plant medicine as a way to find wellness.
WHEN — 3-5 p.m. Feb. 23 with music at 4 p.m.
WHERE — Ozark Research Institute, 744 W. Skelton St. in Fayetteville
COST — Free; the album is available for $16
INFO — johntwohawks.com
"This album was birthed out of relationships," elaborates Two-Hawks. "Our friend, Dr. Jesse Lopez, introduced us to the owner of the company CBD American Shaman, Vince Sanders. [His] story resonated with us, as we have always known the healing power of plants. Thus an idea came to life. The music on the album was chosen and created to speak to our mutual respect for, and give a musical voice to the ancestral knowledge of, the spirit of the plant people."
"American Shaman" includes 11 songs, two brand new, the rest tracks from previous releases.
"The songs were thoughtfully chosen with a focus on our shared intention of imparting wellness through the power of plants and music," says Two-Hawks. "The end result is an album with a unique musical sound and message; the message being, there are natural ways to heal, they are powerful, and they work for all human beings around the world. Even the title of the album, 'American Shaman,' speaks to the idea of sacred medicine in a broader, more global context. We all need to reconnect to the healing and balance of the natural world. This music is an invitation to reestablish that primal connection so many have lost in this modern world."
Music was the medicine that helped Two-Hawks survive a childhood riddled with nightmares, he says. His parents were divorced when he was about 6, and his teenage mother dragged him -- and his younger siblings as they came along -- from house to house without ever giving them a home.
"It didn't stop until I was 18 and able to get out of there," he remembers. "What carried me through was the hope that it wasn't forever. That was my hidden medicine. I started writing songs when I was 9 years old, when we moved in with [his stepmother]. It was my way to find the light in the darkness. That music carried me. It helped me to have hope."
Two-Hawks has spent his life sharing that hard-fought hope through music, telling his very personal story in his 26th CD, "Hidden Medicine," and in 2018, traveling from Utah to South Dakota to Florida, Ohio, New York, Tennessee, North Carolina, Canada and Ireland to perform, speak and conduct workshops and classes. He says 2019 "looks to be just as busy as we tour the 'American Shaman' album" and introduce the two new songs on it.
"The new compositions, 'American Shaman' and 'Cloud Chaser,' are the bookends for this album, as they are the first and last tracks," he says. "The title track 'American Shaman' employs a turn-of-the-century drum in its arrangement, which includes gentle guitar and Native flutes, with the intention being to honor all Indigenous healers and medicine people, past and present, as the old ways are being sought out in a new way for a new generation. 'Cloud Chaser' employs a grand piano and Native flute composition that invites the listener to open themselves up to dream what is possible -- to be set free from narrow paradigms and shortsightedness, and to soar with vision like the eagle and gain a powerful new perspective."
NAN What's Up on 02/17/2019
Print Headline: Sacred Medicine