Buffy Sainte-Marie
Biography: Running for the Drum

The first new CD in 13 years
from the award-winning singer-songwriter
and Native American activist
includes DVD bio-documentary
and marks Appleseed Recording’s 100th release!

Buffy Sainte-Marie has been running for the drum practically her whole life, pursuing its internal call to life, love, independence, creativity and activism. That drumbeat has led her to great success in multiple careers and finally drew her back into the recording studio to create Running for the Drum, her first new recordings since 1996.

Since her recording debut 45 years ago, Sainte-Marie’s original songs have attracted cover versions by artists including Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, Janis Joplin, Cher, Roberta Flack, Neko Case, Courtney Love, and seemingly half the folksingers of the 1960s. Her co-written Up Where We Belong, the theme from the 1982 movie An Officer and a Gentleman, won her an Academy Award Oscar and a Golden Globe.

The multi-talented Sainte-Marie recently shifted her focus from her work as a visual and digital artist, an educator, and a Native American sociopolitical activist to record Running for the Drum in her home studio in Hawaii. With musician Chris Birkett as her co-producer, as he was on her last two CDs, including Coincidence and Likely Stories (1992) and Up Where We Belong (1996), Buffy crafted eleven original songs and an expanded version of America the Beautiful into what she calls her “usual whiplash collection of many styles – pop, protest, country, rock, dance-remix, rockabilly and big love songs.”

Still image from the music video for No No Keshagesh
Music video for No No Keshagesh     View Video »

Using electronic samples and drum programming as well as more conventional instruments, primary musicians Buffy (keyboards, percussion, guitar) and Birkett (guitars, bass, percussion) match their music to Buffy’s eclectic songs. Her contemptuous putdowns of corporate greed (No No Keshagesh) and the political establishment (Working for the Government) are set to whirling electronica and wailing “powwow” vocals, as is the jubilant Cho Cho Fire. There are contrasting gentle arrangements of love songs Too Much is Never Enough, To the Ends of the World, and Still This Love Goes On; a boisterous I Bet My Heart on You features Buffy and guest Taj Mahal dueting on pianos; the quietly comforting Easy Like the Snow Falls Down; an amped Elvis approach to Blue Sunday, and appropriately acoustic treatments of America the Beautiful, outfitted with new lyrics to reflect the Native American community, and a lovely re-recording of a Sainte-Marie classic, Little Wheel Spin and Spin.

Packaged with Running for the Drum is a DVD documentary, Buffy Sainte-Marie: A Multimedia Life (Cine Focus and Paquin Pictures). The biography traces Buffy’s fascinating path from her birth on a Cree reservation in Saskatchewan to her early success in the Greenwich Village folk scene, her subsequent musical and political activism, which earned her a spot on the government’s blacklist, and to her current role as artist, educator, unstinting activist and timeless musician. Directed by Joan Prowse, the documentary includes interviews with such influential artists as Joni Mitchell, Robbie Robertson, Bill Cosby, Randy Bachman, Appleseed labelmate Eric Andersen, and Steppenwolf’s John Kay.

Buffy will embark on a Europe and North American tour this summer to support her new CD, and Appleseed Music plans to reissue four older Sainte-Marie albums within the next year.

Buy Album: Running for the Drum
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