Native American singer Joanne Shenandoah dies
Joanne Shenandoah, the famous American singer-songwriter who performed before world leaders and on high-profile stages, has passed away. She was 63 years old.
The Native American Music Awards Association posted on its website that Shenandoah, described as “the musical mother of Native America,” died Monday night in Scottsdale, Arizona, after complications from abdominal bleeding.
“Joan’s beautiful ornate voice, strong Iroquois tradition, unmistakable elegance and gentle grace made her an outstanding role model and her musical mother who is highly respected among the Native American communities as well as the mainstream music community at large,” the organization said. Its roots are ancestral and flawlessly incorporated its oral traditions into contemporary forms of folk, country, and Americana.”
Shenandoah was a member of the Wolf Clan of the Oneida Nation, and grew up in upstate New York.
She made her recording debut in 1989, and her career has gone on to include several albums and collaborations.
Shenandoah has won 14 Native American Music Awards, the most for a single artist. She was among the artists who contributed to “Sacred Ground: A Tribute to Mother Earth” which won the Grammy Award for Best Original American Music Album in 2006, and was nominated twice for the Grammys for her own recordings.
According to her website, Shenandoah has performed in front of the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela, and has played at locations including the White House and Carnegie Hall.
Shenandoah has had health problems in recent years, including liver problems after contracting a bacterial infection.
She is survived by her husband, daughter, grandson, and sister.
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