Ganondagan's 2019 Indigenous Music & Arts Festival (formerly the Native American Dance & Music Festival) demonstrates the deep connection of all Indigenous people on Turtle Island while underscoring the meaningful commonalities of Indigenous people worldwide.
This summer’s appearance of the Soh Daiko Japanese taiko drummers is an example of expanded festival offerings. Soh Daiko has increased its varied repertoire to include traditional compositions from Shinto music tradition—adapting existing taiko compositions—and original arrangements by its own members. In addition to drums, the group incorporates accessories such as bamboo flutes, brass bells, conch shells, gongs, African shekere, and Tahitian toere (wooden slit drum). Much more than percussion, Soh Daiko also features visual elements of movement and choreography, requiring physical strength, endurance, and energy that makes taiko such an exciting performance experience.
Making their Ganondagan debut are the contemporary Native music performers Robert “Freightrain” Parker and his band “Freightrain,” the culturally diverse, soulful band with a distinctive and energetic approach to American roots, and winner of the 2018 Indigenous Music Award Best Blues Album. Popular Iroquois Social Dancing returns, performing twice daily this year. Bill Crouse (Seneca) leads the Allegany River Dancers in full regalia.
The full slate of popular festival activities include the Native American Arts Market, traditional arts demonstrators, Hodinöhsö:ni’ juried art show, storytelling, Indigenous food, guided trail walks, raffles, the Family Discovery Tent, and much more.