Youngblood wins Native music award at Grammys
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GRAMMY WINNER: "Beneath The Raven Moon" - Mary Youngblood

Sound Clips:
Walk With Me
Beneath the Raven Moon
And We Shall Dance
Laugh With Me
Caress the Smile
The night belonged to a 23-year-old singer and pianist by the name of Norah Jones but the 45th annual Grammy awards on Sunday also proved victorious for Aleut / Seminole flute player Mary Youngblood, who took home the award for Best Native American Music album.

In her first Grammy appearance, Youngblood accepted the honor, for "Beneath the Raven Moon," during a pre-show ceremony at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Dressed in all black and sporting a large turquoise necklace, she had her moment in the spotlight among fellow artists like repeat rock winner Bruce Springsteen, rap's Nelly and Jones, whose dominated the stage with five trophies.

It was the third time the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences recognized the achievements of Native musicians although television time has been non-existent since the category's debut year back in 2001.

But even without prime-time coverage, Youngblood's win represented a significant coup for the Native music genre, which was added to the Grammys after more than a decade of intense lobbying by the likes of Tom Bee, a music label owner and musician who, as a producer, won the first-ever award. In years past, nominees were restricted to those in a "traditional" vein, limiting the field to pow-wow, drum and similar artists.

As a female flutist in a predominantly male field, Youngblood already breaks down barriers. And her diverse arrangements -- from blues to classical -- on "Beneath the Raven Moon" reflect her personal tastes just as much as tradition.

Youngblood is also no stranger to critical acclaim. At the 2001 Native American Music Awards ceremony, she took home honors for Best Female Artist, Flutist of the Year and Best New Age Recording for "Heart of the World."

Another Native flute player, Navajo artist R. Carlos Nakai, was nominated in the New Age category for "Fourth World" but the award went to Eric Tingstad and Nancy Rumbel for "Acoustic Garden."

Four Directions Entertainment, a Los Angeles-based production company owned by the Oneida Nation of New York, hosted a special Native music showcase on Saturday night. The celebration was the first time a tribally-owned business has hosted an official Grammy event.

More on the Grammys:
Full List of Winners | Gallery of Winners | Show Performances | Backstage Gallery

Relevant Links:
Mary Youngblood -
Silver Wave Records -

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