By Samantha Plentychief
Photos by Kayla Solorzano
Aug. 9, 2018
Tuesday night brought Nahko and Medicine for the People to The Bourbon Theatre for their first Lincoln appearance.
As the doors opened the venue quickly filled with smiling faces ready to be entertained by Nahko and Medicine for the People with their hip-hop infused folk music. From Ohio, Nahko is the lead musician who was living in Hawaii when he met most the of the members that compose Medicine for the People.
The band comprises musicians Nahko has met along the way in Hawaii, Chile and elsewhere, including guitarist Chase Makai, multi-instrumentalist Pato, violinist Tim Snider on the electric violin who was brought into the group by Max Ribner. Max Ribner on horns and drummer Justin Chittman.
Xiuhtezcatl, an 18-year-old hip hop artist from Colorado, was joined on stage by his sister to open the show, immediately grabbing the crowd’s attention. By the third song it was apparent the opening band was worthy of a headliner spot as well. They rocked the crowd with their hip/hop and jazz-infused sound that is true to the Nahko form and delivers a strong message. Each song tackled injustices in the world such as immigration, protection of water, depression and other issues close to the native populations.
About half way through Xiuhtezcatl’s set, Nahko joined to give the crowd a little teaser of him being in the house. It intensified the energy of the crowd for their joint song.
By the time Nahko and Medicine for the People entered the stage, the whole floor shook as the crowd started jumping up and down. A Tribe Called Red was playing in the background sending sounds of traditional drum and techno to the massive crowd of mixed cultures.
Nahko played all of his fan favorites delivering a couple of the folk songs with an edgy rock rendition. “Dragonfly” started and the crowd swayed back and forth in sync with each other and the crowd glowed from the lights of the camera. Toward the end of show as “Love Letters to God” started, it was apparent the entire venue was happy and had the good feeling that Nahko and Medicine for The People strive to deliver from the music, the message, and their stories.
The band proved why they are the new storytellers of our generation, delivering a powerful message of love in their music.
Nahko was loud and proud but the crowd was just as loud and even prouder to sing each word to him. Numerous times, he just stopped singing and the words were clear from the crowd like an echo in a cave. When the song “Be Here Now” began to be sang the chorus was sung by the audience, Nakho just stepped back and smiled as the crowd chanted “be here now.” So many people just closed their eyes and took in the energy and feeling while they sang or just listened.
Nakho’s music promotes unity, a better way of life by addressing injustices and making a change, like protecting the water and the rights of all indigenous cultures, immigration injustices, and a message of world love. Medicine for the People held true to the name and delivered to an all-ages show the much needed medicine for the soul.
Samantha Plentychief is the co-host of “Native Sounds Native Voices,” airing Thursdays 8-10 a.m. on KZUM. Kayla Solorzano is a multimedia intern with KZUM.