Brule performs Native American holiday concert
November 20th, 2012
Omaha, NE – Just in time for the holidays is a special concert by the contemporary Native American ensemble, BrulÃ©.
This weekend, BrulÃ© and the American Indian Rock Opera will perform â€œA BrulÃ© Holidayâ€ at the Orpheum Theater. Founding member Paul LaRoche says the name BrulÃ© is a reference to his own discovered heritage as a Lakota Sioux. â€œI am a member of the Lower BrulÃ© Sioux tribe of South Dakota,â€ LaRoche said. â€œWeâ€™ve adopted the name BrulÃ© as an inclusive name for our performance group.â€
LaRoche describes BrulÃ©â€™s sound as â€œContemporary Native American Music,â€ blending Native American and Western music and utilizing traditional Native American instruments like the wood flute or drum. However, BrulÃ© does more than just play Native American instruments. It strives to connect the cultures on a fundamental level. â€œThe Native American culture, it actually goes much deeper than that,â€ LaRoche said. â€œIt has a spiritual significance.â€
â€œOur traditional drums are always transported in certain ways,â€ he said. â€œTobacco is used to bless the drum before every performance. So we have special things that we have to adhere to as a Native American group to keep that connection with our culture. And, honestly, to keep the respect of our elders as well.â€
When fusing these cultural elements, BrulÃ© has been very selective in what it brings in from nontraditional sources. For the holiday concert, the group selected songs with cross-cultural appeal, like â€œGreensleevesâ€ and â€œLittle Drummer Boy.â€
â€œWeâ€™ve looked for a song that has something in its title or something in its composition or melody that lends to a connection with the culture,â€ LaRoche said.
The performance at the Orpheum Theater Saturday will also feature a fusion of visual and theatrical elements from both cultures. One example is a scene called the Red Nativity, similar to the iconic Christmas story, but with minor changes. â€œWe bring the child gifts, but theyâ€™re natural gifts.â€ LaRoche said. â€œThereâ€™s sage and sweetgrass, and a small traditional hand drum.”
These are “things that may have been passed along in our culture hundreds of years ago when a child was born,â€ he said.
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