Sherb Talks presents: R. Carlos Nakai Speaks about His Life, His Heritage and His Music
Of Navajo-Ute heritage, R. Carlos Nakai is the world’s premier performer of the Native American flute. Originally trained in classical trumpet and music theory, Nakai was given a traditional cedar flute as a gift and challenged to see what he could do with it.
Nakai, while cognizant of the traditional use of the flute as a solo instrument, has used it in new settings such as new age, world beat jazz, and classical music.
Since 1983, he has released 35 albums on the Canyon label. Nakai has received two Gold Records (500,000 units sold) for Earth Spirit and Canyon Trilogy (which will receive Platinum Record certification for 1 million units sold in the U.S.). He has received ten GRAMMY® nominations as well as eight Native American Music Awards.
A Navy veteran, Nakai has earned a Master’s Degree in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona. He was awarded the Arizona Governor’s Arts Award in 1992 and an honorary doctorate from Northern Arizona University in 1994. In 2005 Nakai was inducted into the Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame. Nakai also authored a book, The Art of the Native American Flute, a guide to performing the traditional flute.
R. Carlos Nakai’s career has been shaped by a desire to communicate a sense of Native American culture and society that transcends the common stereotypes presented in mass media.