National fellowship brings new opportunity

Guests: Qacung Stephen Blanchett
As they say, when it rains it pours. And for Qacung Stephen Blanchett, it’s been a downpour of awards and honors, including a national United States Artists fellowship, as well as recognition from the Kennedy Center.  This comes on the heels of helping to launch Rock Aaw’k, Alaska’s first Indigenous Music Festival and the release of his album, Miu.

For Qacung, this success was more than three decades in the making, beginning on the banks of the Kuskokwim River near Bethel.  As a teenager, he and his brother Phillip, along with their cousins, would entertain family members at fish camp. Their impromptu performances laid the groundwork for a group they would form in the 1990’s called Pamyua, which fused the sounds of traditional Yup’ik dance songs with African-American gospel harmonies. The group has enjoyed success in both Alaska and the Lower 48. In 2003, Pamyua won a Nammy for their album, Caught in the Act.

In this conversation with Rhonda McBride, Qacung talks about his work promoting Indigenous culture and serving as a mentor for up and coming artists.

Air date: Tuesday, February 15, 2022

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