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Tiny Desk Playlist: Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

For Tiny Desk Playlists, we ask musicians, creators and folks we admire to choose the Tiny Desk concerts they've come to love. To celebrate Native American Heritage Month, we've asked Code Switch fellow Sam Yellowhorse Kesler to curate his favorite Tiny Desks from Native American musicians.

Conversations about Indigenous people are usually in the past tense: Who were they? What were their lives like? Discussions of Indigenous music forms are often the same way, thought of in an antiquated notion of drums and flutes. But Native musicians today are engaging with genre, unsurprisingly, the same way any other artists might be — in exciting and vibrant and incredibly diverse ways.

Indigenous performers at the Tiny Desk have exemplified this perfectly, even in an admittedly small sample size. They've brought genres from folk to rock to hip-hop, and sounds and languages from all across Turtle Island. The only commonality between them: absolutely none of them alone could possibly represent the breadth and beauty of Indigenous art.

In addition to these previous Native performers, I'm so pleased to have worked with the Tiny Desk team to bring three more musicians to the stage for Native American Heritage Month: William Prince, Ya Tseen and Raye Zaragoza. I hope that many more will follow. As Nicholas Galanin of Ya Tseen says, "It's Indigenous Peoples' Month every month. Don't you forget!"

Tiny Desks In This Playlist

Quinn Christopherson
Martha Redbone
Lido Pimienta
Mumu Fresh
Jeremy Dutcher
Lila Downs
William Prince
Ya Tseen
Raye Zaragoza

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Sam Yellowhorse Kesler
Sam Yellowhorse Kesler is an Assistant Producer for Planet Money. Previously, he's held positions at NPR's Ask Me Another & All Things Considered, and was the inaugural Code Switch Fellow. Before NPR, he interned with World Cafe from WXPN. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, and continues to reside in Philadelphia. If you want to reach him, try looking in your phone contacts to see if he's there! You'd be surprised how many people are in there that you forgot about.