Sihasin, Native Roots among groups to perform on Stage 49

By Shondiin Silversmith
Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK, April 25, 2013

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T he Sihasin duo, made up of siblings Jeneda and Clayson Benally, will perform for the first time on Stage 49 at this year's Gathering of Nations Powwow in Albuquerque alongside at least 25 other bands. The Benally's, who are former band members for Blackfire, formed last May "Sihasin," which means hope in Navajo.

Jeneda said she hopes that the duo's album, "Never Surrender," sends the message of hope.

"How can we continue to exist in a positive way if we don't have hope? We created our musical project Sihasin to remind people about the importance of hope," she said.

"The kind of music that we wanted to write, that we wanted to portray is music that was hopeful and that would give empowerment, because there are so many things happening in this world that are so negative," she continued. "We want to, through music, remind people that they have the power to make (things) positive in their community. All it takes is one person to stand up."

This will be the first time Sihasin will be perform at the Gathering of Nations.

Of what people can expect to hear when they see Sihasin perform, Clayson said, "The style and technique that we are using, Jeneda on bass and myself on drums, creates this unique distinctive sound. We're not quite as hardcore with the punk rock stuff but we still have the energy."

Clayson said he uses traditional drums and a western style drum set that allows him to create a different beat that is different from his former band.

"They might hear a Blackfire tune or two but (the audience can) definitely expect something new and exciting," Clayson added. "The energy is most certainly there, and it's really exciting for us."

Sihasin is scheduled to perform twice on April 26 at 11:15 a.m. and 4 p.m., and on April 27 at 1:45 p.m.

Other performers on Stage 49 include native reggae band Native Roots, Native American Basketball Entertainer Jerrickson "J-Stylez" Hosteen, and rock duo Scatter Their Own.

"There probably isn't another stage out there like this," said Melissa Sanchez, entertainment coordinator of Stage 49. "It's really a unique opportunity to come and enjoy performing arts."

Native Roots, based out of Albuquerque, combines both Native American and reggae music.

Native Roots singer Emmett Shkeme Garcia said his band loves how supportive the fans have been over the past years, and they plan on performing something a little different.

This year, he said, the group has incorporated a saxophone player and dancers into their lineup.

"It should be quite exciting, up-beat and high in energy," he said.

Members of "Scatter Their Own," a rock duo, will be traveling from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

The duo consists of singer and guitarist Scotti Cliffs and his wife Juliana Browneyes, the bass player.

Cliffs said their sound is a mixture of rock, blues and alternative as they incorporate concepts from their culture.

Hosteen, who juggles basketballs, started his entertaining career in the fall of 2009 when he started performing various basketball tricks for his friends.

He said that his act now includes basketball juggling, routine basketball dribbling with one or three basketballs, spinning tricks and a lot of other tricks.