Grantee: Martha Redbone
Redbone, who still tours, has won Independent Music Awards for Best RnB Album and Best Concept Album. These albums are a part of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian Permanent Library Collection as examples of contemporary Native American music.
Redbone yearns to refine and elevate her musical journey through two goals. The first goal is to take the time to research cultural and musical aspects of her upbringing and ancestral heritage. The second goal is to further develop her new creative endeavor entitled “Bone Hill,” her first exploration into musical theater. “Bone Hill” is an epic story spanning four generations of Cherokee women, inspired by her family stories in Black Mountain, North Carolina. “Bone Hill” is an endeavor of Redbone’s creative ingenuity that she hopes will ultimately become a major American musical.
Receiving the 2015 National Artist Fellowship award will afford Redbone the time for research travel to various locations within her Appalachian Mountain-homelands of Kentucky, Virginia and North Carolina. There, she expects to find and gain a deeper understanding of the origins of the localized language and music, as well as hear and learn about her own family history going back many generations. Her discoveries will further build elements of “Bone Hill.”
In February 2015 Redbone was commissioned by a local entertainment venue to create and perform an initial piece of “Bone Hill.” The result exceeded all expectations, receiving an overwhelmingly positive audience response with many coming to Redbone eager to discuss the underlying story and family histories over the ensuing days, phone calling and sending emails of appreciation.
We realized from such feedback Bone Hill was more than my family story… BONE HILL IS EVERY FAMILY’S STORY – Martha Redbone.