Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Reporter: Helena Rodriguez
PORTALES — Award-winning flutist Robert "Tree" Cody promises an evening of Native American songs from many different tribes when he visits Eastern New Mexico University on Tuesday, Nov. 9. It is free and open to the public.
The three time Grammy-nominated musician, more commonly known as "Tree," is slated to perform twice on Tuesday to highlight Eastern's ongoing Native American Heritage Month. He performs at 10 a.m. inside of the Campus Union Building Ballroom and at 6 p.m. inside of the Becky Sharp Auditorium in the College of Business. Admission is free but seating is limited.
Fresh off of a tour through Ireland, Cody said of his upcoming shows in Portales, "It will be fun, beautiful and interesting. I'll be playing some old traditional love and blues songs taught by elders of the Dakota Nation, as well as songs by other traditional flute players that I've met in my life." He noted that some of the songs date back to the 1800s.
Cody said Native American music has the potential to become commercial, noting that he recently recorded some music for a new Tony Hillerman mystery theater movie coming out. Cody has also recorded more than a dozen albums and is very active on the pow wow circuit today. He said his greatest accomplishments, to date, were performing twice at the White House and for the recent Native American Law Enforcement Conference. In addition to his Grammy nominations, he has won six Native American Music Awards.
One of his Native American Music Awards was for an album, "Cross Roads," which he recorded with world-renowned Flamenco guitarist Ruben Romero, which won him two of his Native American Music Awards in 1999. "This was the first time a Native American and a native Mexican have performed together on an album like this," Cody said. The album brought together the music of the native people of the Great Plains and Mexico. Furthermore, the recording also features Mayan flutist Xavier Quijas Yxayotl.
Cody began playing the flute at the age of three. He said the flutes are traditional Native American wood flutes which he often has handmade especially for his own concerts using cedar and other woods. He has taken his music around the world, having also served as an artisan, lecturer, performing artist on indigenous North American culture and music, an actor, stage productions composer and instructor of the Native American flute. He is an enrolled member of the Salt River Pima/Maricopa Indian Community in Arizona.
For more information about Cody's performances, contact the Office of Native American Affairs at 505.562.2470. As a part of Native American Heritage Month, Native American Affairs will also hold an ENMU Veteran's Memorial Dedication at noon on Thursday, Nov. 11, at the flagpoles in the center of campus.
Robert Tree Cody