Prague Post: Blackfire connects with European fans

"Recipients of the 2007 Native American Album of the Year for their work on Silence is a Weapon (Tacoho Records), Blackfire has, since their formation in 1989, garnered respect from their indigenous community as well as the rock 'n' roll world at large. Joey Ramone himself, arguably the co-inventor of punk rock, was attracted to their early work and helped in the production of their first album. In 2003, at what has been called world music's Saharan Woodstock, Mali's "Festival of the Desert," Blackfire shared billing with legends like Robert Plant, Ali Farka Toure and Tinariwen. Arlo Guthrie consulted with the band to help create their 2003 folk-meets-punk CD Woody Guthrie Singles, and in 2006 they joined Joan Jett, the Buzzcocks, the Germs and dozens of other punk luminaries on the infamous 11th annual Warped Tour.

Blackfire was scheduled to perform earlier this week with Billy Bragg at Berlin's 10th annual Musik and Politik festival before returning to Prague for their sixth appearance since 1999. Speaking by phone from the band's home office in Arizona about how their Navajo heritage intersects with the impulsive beat of punk and metal, Blackfire drummer Clayson Benally told The Prague Post, "For us it's about energy. You have a message you want to communicate about injustices, like your grandmother's forced 'relocation' and the U.S. government that still has policies to terminate and eradicate our people. So, sometimes, to shout, yell or scream, add distortion and put some slamming drums behind that, is a way to get those messages across."

Drawing inspiration from the likes of the Dead Kennedys, Subhumans, Black Flag and the Ramones, Blackfire is a family band - two brothers and a sister - whose Navajo medicine-man father trained them early in tribal dances and chants. Although the band is careful not to trivialize sacred Navajo songs with mosh-pit audiences, their music shares some sensibilities with Navajo tradition."

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Native American fireball punk (The Prague Post 2/26)