Dr. Michael Brant DeMaria is the winner of a Native American Music Award (NAMMY). He won in the Native Heart category for his soundtrack “Siyotanka: The Legend of the Flute.” DeMaria composed and performed the music for Pensacola Little Theatre’s 2008 production of the same name. The play, co-written by Dr. Stephen C. Lott, was inspired by a traditional Lakota legend about the creation of the wooden flute. The play won seven of PLT’s Crystal Awards including best original score and performance by DeMaria.
DeMaria says that it was an honor to be a part of the pinnacle event of the year for this genre of music. “It was a dream come true to be at a Native American Music Awards ceremony as a NAMMY nominee.” DeMaria said, “To actually win the NAMMY for Native Heart was a true joy.”
Immediately after receiving his award, DeMaria presented the award for Best Country Album of the Year. He says the experience of participating in the NAMMY ceremony was deeply meaningful.
On the soundtrack, DeMaria plays a wide variety of Native American flutes, drums, keyboards and many other instruments. The CD received international acclaim and made it to #1 on the New Age Reporter chart and remained in the top 20 for six months. Both the play and the music were inspired by the Lakota legend about the discovery of the Native American wooden flute, called Siyotanka. The CD is available for purchase through Amazon.com, iTunes and many other online and traditional outlets.
The Native American Music Awards were presented on Saturday, October 3, during a ceremony in Niagara Falls, New York. The awards recognize and promote music and artists embodying Native American ideals and instruments. The Native Heart category honors music created by non-Native artists.
Nominations reflected the combined votes of the NAMA Advisory Board Nominating Committee. The winners were decided by a combination of Public and Advisory Board votes.
In other good news for DeMaria, the Siyotanka album is also on the shortlist of releases that qualify for a Grammy nomination. Not every recording submitted to the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences makes it onto the official ballot. DeMaria, who is a member of the Academy, says he is honored that his work made it through the first round of the selection process. Voting members of the Academy must return their ballots by Friday, and nominees will be announced in December.