Ikhaya Studios / Transhumance Music
Ema is a unique and multi-faceted artist - guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer, audio engineer and anthropologist who has spent most of his career exploring and immersing himself in the musical traditions of South Africa.
Ema is well versed in the myriad cultures and languages of South Africa. He has traveled regularly to Johannesburg to perform, record and produce projects with various artists for the Sheer, Kalamazoo, Roots, Sun, and Tusk record labels. Of particular note is his work with South African composer and traditional music preservationist, Pops Mohamed. In addition, Ema periodically travels to the rural areas of South Africa to conduct field recordings of the traditional musics of the various indigenous culture groups. In 2003, Ema received a grant from the Arts International Foundation to conduct field recording projects of the Xhosa, Venda, And Pedi Musical traditions in South Africa.
In 1990 Ema teamed up with producer/playwrite Welcome Msomi (of Umabatha "the Zulu Macbeth" fame) and singer/actress/choreographer, Thuli Dumakude to co-produce, arrange and perform all of the music on Thuli's album Senzeni Na? (I.A.M./Tusk), which enjoyed widespread popularity in South Africa. As a result of this collaboration, Ema also performed live with Thuli and served as musical director for the Off-Broadway production of her "one-woman" musical, Buya Africa, which also toured South Africa, with successful runs at both the National Arts Festival at Grahamstown and the Johannesburg Civic. In New York, the show received the Audelco Theater Award for "Best Musical" and Ema was nominated for "Best Musical Direction" & "Best Male Performance." In 1994 Ema collaborated again with Pops Mohamed to produce their CD, Ancestral Healing (B&W, London). The CD showcases the two artists' skills in cross-cultural composition and expertise on mbira (African thumb piano).
From 1994-2002, Ema recorded and toured all over the world as guitarist and percussionist for Triloka International recording artist Samite of Uganda.
Other African artists with whom Ema has performed and recorded are: mbira master Ephat Mujuru of Zimbabwe, griot and kora master Foday Kouyate of Mali, Mandinka Kora master Foday Musa Suso, Gnawa artist Hassan Hakmoun of Morocco, noted South African musicians from Paul Simon's Graceland fame, saxophonist Morris Goldberg (recently of the Rosie O'Donnell Show band), pianist/accordionist Tony Cedras and bassist Bakithi Khumalo.
Ema also runs Ikhaya Studios -- a world music recording/production facility -- and Transhmance Music Publishing and Arts-In-Education through which he conducts a series of "world music and culture" education programs for school systems and community based education organizations. He plays guitar, percussion, piano, accordion and specializes in traditional Southern African instruments such as mbira and kalimba (African thumb pianos) and hand drums.
Other African artists with whom Ema has performed and recorded are: mbira master Ephat Mujuru of Zimbabwe, griot and kora master Foday Kouyate of Mali, Gnawa artist Hassan Hakmoun of Morocco, South African saxophonist Morris Goldberg (currently with the Rosie O'Donnell Show band), South African pianist Tony Cedras (of Paul Simon's band) Mandinka Kora master Foday Musa Suso.
KENNETH LITTLE HAWK
Native American Heritage: Mi’kmaq, Mohawk
Professional Memberships: Screen Actors Guild, Actors Equity
STORYTELLER: Shares Native American culture, traditions, and musical instruments in a lecture, storytelling, and musical demonstration format. Little Hawk performs for a wide variety of audiences, including young children, teenagers, college students, and senior citizens. He has performed in hospitals, nursing homes and for the homeless and disabled. He adapts the performance to the interests of the audience. His themes include Native American culture, cultural diversity, self-esteem, and respect for others and our environment. Little Hawk’s performances are always met with enthusiasm, no matter what his audiences’ age or background.
RECORDING ARTIST: Composes, sings, and plays Native American music on flutes, drums, rattles, and other traditional instruments for movies, plays, television, radio, and concerts. His music and singing are heard in the films The West and Lewis and Clark, both produced by Ken Burns. The soundtrack for The West, produced by SONY, includes Little Hawk’s original music and singing. Wind, Sun and Stars was nominated for Best Children’s Recording of 1998 by Native American Music Awards. In a Good Way was nominated for Best Spoken Word of 2002 by Native American Music Awards. Little Hawk’s recordings include In a Very Real Way, The Great Mystery, First Light, The Hawk Project, From the Heart of Little Hawk, and Brothers of the Wind. Composed and performed music with the Westchester Philharmonic, New York and the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, Flagstaff, AZ.
ACTOR: Powerful presence and dignity in the roles of Native American Elder, Chief, Shaman, Medicine Man, Spiritual Leader, and Peacemaker, with mesmerizing delivery of comedy and tragedy. Little Hawk appeared in Black Elk Speaks at the Denver Center Theatre Company and at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. He played Chief Joseph in Indians at the McCarter Theater Company in Princeton, New Jersey. He portrayed a Native American Elder in The Inheritance, a film directed by Mark Williams, New York University, Department of Film and Television. He played an attorney in the film Petty Crimes, directed by Michael Ferry, and a storyteller in the film Campfire Stories, directed by Andrzej Krakowski and Jeff Mazzola.
VOICE-OVERS: Little Hawk’s voice has the sound of an ancient voice that echoes in the present. His rich, deep voice is heard in The West, Lewis and Clark, and Land of the Eagle.
FILMS, TELEVISION, AND VOICE-OVERS
Campfire Stories- A film directed by Andrzej Krakowski and Jeff Mazzola, Campfire Stories Publications, 2001. He plays a Native American storyteller, a principal role.
Petty Crimes- A film directed by Michael Ferry, 2001. Little Hawk plays a Native American attorney, a principal role.
The West and Lewis and Clark- Two TV series produced by Ken Burns, Insignia Films, Public Broadcasting System in 1996 and 1997. Little Hawk composed and arranged music, and performed traditional instrumentals with Lakota singers. Performed voice-overs.
Land of the Eagle- A TV series by Time-Life, Inc., Channel 13, WNET, New York City. Performed voice-overs. His voice was used for the roles of 12 different Native Americans in this eight-volume series.
The Inheritance- A film directed by Mark Williams, New York University Department of Film and Television. Little Hawk received an award for excellence in acting and this production won best film award at the First Run Student Film Festival in 1991. He played Cash, a Native American Elder, a principal role.
Black Elk Speaks- A play directed by Donovan Marley, Denver Center Theatre Company, Denver, CO, October 1993, that won the American Theatre Critics Association’s New Play Award. Little Hawk played the roles of Crazy Horse’s father and a Cheyenne Chief. Every performance received a standing ovation. Little Hawk was invited to return for the second run of this play at the Denver Center Theatre Company in 1994 and the third run at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in 1995.
This Land is Whose Land?- A series of ten one-act plays produced by the 52nd Street Project, The Ensemble Theatre Company, New York City Police Athletic League, in 1992. Little Hawk composed, performed music, and played a principal role in each play of this series.
Indians- A play directed by George Faison, McCarter Theater Company, Princeton University, in 1991. Little Hawk composed, performed music, and played the principal role of Chief Joseph.