Native American duo ‘Spirits Rising’ to perform Jan. 28 at Oakland University

Native American duo ‘Spirits Rising’ to perform Jan. 28 at Oakland University
Spirits Rising at OU
Spirits Rising, a dynamic musical duo featuring Native American singers and songwriters Allison Radell and Joe Reilly – will be performing at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28 following a workshop on Native American music and dance at Oakland University’s Varner Hall. (Photo courtesy Spirits Rising)

Spirits Rising, a dynamic musical duo featuring Native American singers and songwriters Allison Radell and Joe Reilly – will be performing at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28 following a workshop on Native American music and dance at Oakland University’s Varner Hall.

 

The workshop begins at 1 p.m. in Room 109 at 371 Varner Drive. Admission is free.

 

Tickets for the musical performance are $8 for OU students and $14 for the general public and can be purchased online. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

 

“We hope to cultivate a greater awareness of the Native American community on OU’s campus while celebrating the diversity and inclusiveness that gives OU its strength,” said Radell, who also serves as assistant director of the university’s International Students and Scholars Office.

 

Radell, Powhatan, was born and raised in Metro Detroit. She has studied classical and jazz piano and enjoys playing and experimenting with a variety of genres. Her debut album, “Peachy Keyn,” was released in October 2014.

 

Reilly, Cherokee, grew up in Kalamazoo and currently resides in Ann Arbor. He enjoys writing “playful, clever, engaging and meaningful” songs that bring people together and “build community across lines of race, class, gender, ethnicity, religion, age, and nationality.”

 

His albums include: “Mothers and Daughters” (2001), “Dread Locks and Pony Tales, the Long Hairz Collective” (2003), “Beyond My Control” (2004), “Planting Gardens” (2006), “Children of Earth” (2007), “Touch the Earth” (2009), “Let’s Go Outside” (2011), “Hello Ocean EP” (2012), “Greyhound Bus Tour” (2013), and “The Circle” (2016).

 

“Allison and I met through Detroit's urban Native American community when we were both working with the youth program at American Indian Health and Family Services,” Reilly said. “We realized that we shared a connection as musicians and began to develop our relationship while supporting one another in developing our music.

 

“Eventually we became a couple and began writing and performing music together, calling our duo ‘Spirits Rising’ to reflect the spiritual and inspirational message we hope to share through our music. 

 

The duo made their debut as Spirits Rising in July of 2014 at Native Fest, a celebration of Indigenous culture sponsored by the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe in Mt. Pleasant, Mich.

 

Since that time, the duo has been working steadily on developing their collaborative songwriting process and have performed together at festivals, gatherings, and venues throughout the state of Michigan and beyond.

 

“Our music is a unique blend of styles, including jazz, folk, rock and traditional Native American singing,” Radell said. “It is unique because it is true to our own creative voices and reflects our experiences as urban Natives.”

 

According to Reilly, the duo’s music incorporates elements of jazz, folk, blues, hip-hop, rock, and traditional Native American music.

 

“Our music brings together the many diverse influences that inspire us to be who we are,” he said. “Our Native American heritage provides a strong cultural and musical foundation for us and helps to guide our message of healing and walking in balance with each other and the Earth.”

 

The duo will be joined onstage by world renowned musicians and Native American dancers, including Gayelynn McKinney, Jacob Warren, Mark Stone (associate professor of music at Oakland University), Lesley-Anne Stone, Ray Cadette, Julie Whitepigeon, and Tami Castillo.

 

For more information about Spirits Rising, visit their website. A sample of their performance at the 2015 Concert of Colors in Detroit can also be viewed here.

 

To learn more about the workshop, contact Carly Uhrig at (248) 370-2030 or mtd@oakland.edu.