Indie rock artist DeMarco appearing at Shiprock Chapter

WINDOW ROCK

portrait

Courtesy of Mac DeMarco website
Mac DeMarco

Local bands will open for popular indie rock artist Mac DeMarco for a sold-out show at the Shiprock Chapter House on Wednesday (Oct. 4).

The Navajo Nation Museum brought the metal band Korn to Window Rock a few years ago and dubbed two movies – “Star Wars” and “Finding Nemo” – into Navajo.

So it comes as no surprise the museum was able to get DeMarco to travel to Shiprock a day before he is to open for another wildly popular indie band, The Flaming Lips, in Phoenix.

“We’ve been talking with Mac DeMarco’s management for six months and finally a date became available,” said Navajo Nation Museum Director Manuelito Wheeler. “The date happened to be around Shiprock fair. The Shiprock Chapter House is the perfect place because it signifies what the Navajo Nation is about.”

DeMarco, who just recently sold out shows at Radio City Music Hall in New York City and also performed on “The Tonight Show,” is currently on tour and the Shiprock Chapter House will be the smallest venue he will be playing.

But a major feat for Wheeler was to get three local Navajo bands to open for DeMarco. They are Shiprock band Lo Cash Ninjas, The Flossies, and Nizhoni Girls.

“Three Navajo bands are going to open up,” said Wheeler. “They will get exposure to an audience that they never would’ve had. All these bands have their own style. We wanted to put together a dynamic group of bands.”

Lo Cash Ninjas members are Jordan Steele, Darren Jim, Codi Jackson and Andre Alva. They have been a band for a decade and are originally from Shiprock.

“It’s no surprise the show sold out,” said the band in an email to the Times. It’s not everyday we get a popular artist especially of the hip variety performing on the rez. I do appreciate Mac DeMarco for making this show happen for the Diné music scene, the Navajo Nation Museum really did come through on this one.”

Nizhoni Girls is comprised of Becki Jones, Liz McKenzie and Lisa Lorenzo. The bands roots are Navajo and Pueblo and they were surprised that someone as popular as DeMarco would be performing on the Nation.

“I love Mac DeMarco! I’ve been dying to see him live! Being asked to open up for him is even better, and in Tse’bit’ai’ no less,” said Jones in an email. “I’m also glad another genre of music is being brought to the Navajo Nation, it’s very refreshing.

‘We would like to thank the Chapter House Records for recording our songs and for giving space to indigenous women to play shows,” the email said. “The music scene is still very much a boys club. We are very happy that the organizer, Manuelito Wheeler, was conscious of adding femmes to the bill.”

The Flossies is based out of Navajo, N.M., but they reside in Durango, Colorado, and they’ve been a band for the past five years. The band members are Kent Kaulaity, Nolan Bia, Latrell Bia, Brandon Bia and Ryan Allison.

“This is the grandest opportunity we will have yet,” said Kaulaity. “We have always wanted to open for, or perform with, a musician or band whom we totally admire, and not just for the exposure, but for the honor of sharing the same stage with musicians that inspire us. It is incredible that The Flossies will be opening for Mac DeMarco.”

Wheeler said the idea to bring DeMarco to the Navajo Nation came from his discussions with the younger generation. Having two young sons also introduced Wheeler to DeMarco’s music, since they are also big fans of the Canadian rocker.

“Apparently, he’s a big deal,” said Wheeler. “I know young people in the area, I poll them from time to time to know what their interest are, musically. Mac DeMarco came up a few times.”
Emails exchanged with DeMarco’s people to establish a possible interview with the Times was received but he was unavailable for an interview.


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Categories: Music

About Author

Arlyssa Becenti

Arlyssa Becenti reports on Navajo Nation Council, Business, Fort Defiance Agency, New Mexico State politics and Art/fashion. Her clans are Nát'oh dine'é Táchii'nii, Bit'ahnii, Kin łichii'nii, Kiyaa'áanii. She’s originally from Fort Defiance and has a degree in English Literature from Arizona State University. Before working for the Navajo Times she was a reporter for the Gallup Independent. She can be reached at abecenti@navajotimes.com.