History of Native New York
The American Indian Community House
Hemispheric Institute Digital Video Library


Singers, musicians, and dancers are among the community’s most prominent performers.  Although many musicians and singers have preserved traditional music they have also incorporated contemporary forms and styles, demonstrating the continuity of Native cultures.


Ulali – women’s a capella singing troupe blending traditional and contemporary music.

Ulali was formerly known as Pura Fe and it was a seven member group until becoming an a cappella women's trio. Ulali features three Native women a cappella singers, Pura Fé (Tuscarora), Soni Moreno (Apache/Mayan) and Jennifer Kreisberg (Tuscarora). It blends a variety of traditional and contemporary indigenous music of the Americas and incorporates political, social and personal issues affecting all human beings. Ulali can be heard on dozens of albums, documentaries and movies. Currently the group features internationally renowned Maori singer, Ataahua Papa.  By fusing different outside influences with Native words and music, Ulali has managed to challenge notions of how "traditional" words and concepts can be made applicable in the modern world. 

website: www.ulali.com

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HIDVL Call # HI2005.006_01

Jim Pepper
Pura Fe (the group) with Jim Pepper and Matoka Little Eagle with Jim Pepper – jazz, clarinet, percussion and singer.

Saxophonist Jim Pepper a Creek and Kaw Indian Jazz musician performes with the group Pura Fe at a benefit at AICH. Among the selection of songs Pepper performed was Pepper's most famous, “Witchi Tai To," which he performed with Matoka Little Eagle.

Jim was an innovative jazz musician who made his mark in the United States and in Europe.   His style was unique in that it fused Native American Church music and powwow music with the experimental jazz.  Though he was based out of New York for much of his career, like most jazz musicians he had to go to Europe to receive critical acclaim.  His best know work, Pepper's Pow Wow, was released in 1971.  Jim was a big influence on Muscogee poet Joy Harjo, and collaborated with the Native women's; a cappella group, Ulali. He was inducted into the Native American Music Awards Hall of Fame posthumously after his tragic death following his battle with lymphoid cancer.  Jim is remembered for his contribution to both the Jazz scene and the Native music scene, and for expanding the perceptions and expectations of both genres. 

website: http://www.nammys.com/jim.html

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HIDVL Call # HI2005.027_01

Interview Soni Moreno
Soni Moreno is an Actress, Singer, Composer, Poet and Trapeze Artis. 

Soni has appeared on and off Broadway and has sung with different Country and Blues groups.  She is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Indian Community House (AICH) in New York City. She worked with the Smithsonian Institution on the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian.  Soni's work with traditional Native music patterns, songs and words to create unique sound that has put her at the vanguard of the modern Native music scene. 

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HIDVL Call # HI2006.071_01