Native American Heritage – Performance – Cultural Awareness
Cody Blackbird is of Eastern Band Cherokee, and Roma descent. Cody is the son of Thomas Blackbird, an accomplished American Indian Cowboy poet who traveled the country through the 80’s and 90’s. Cody often accompanied his father, laying the foundation for his love of music and the road. As a very hyper child, soothing sounds of traditional flute and ceremonial music helped calm Cody and allowed him to sleep at night. He fell in love with the sounds and eventually asked his father for a flute. The rest is history as Cody has been playing the flute since the age of 9. Starting as a traditional flutist and singer, Cody recorded the album Raven Speaks in late 2009. An album of traditional Native American flute compositions with traditional singing, it garnered Cody a nomination at the 2010 Native American Music Awards for “Best Debut Artist.”
In 2010 Cody released his album “The Journey” which included both Native Flute compositions and original and well known round dance songs. This album made Cody the youngest in the history of NAMA to be awarded the prestigious “Flutist of the Year” award at the 2011 Native American Music Awards.
Cody collaborated with emerging hip-hop artist and producer Frank Walk to co-write the song “Hear my Cry” a collaboration of Hip-hop traditional singing and flute that had never been done. The song called attention to the fight for independence and Native American rights, won a NAMMY for “Song of the Year,” and became the most played song on native radio in 2012. Later, Walk mixed and produced Cody’s next traditional flute album titled “Wicohan,” (life customs) an album dedicated to cultural preservation through language and music.
Wanting to explore different terrain, Cody collaborated in 2014 with Lakota Producer Terrance to create the album Euphoria, an exploration of merging Native American flute with celestial synth key and drums to create an album that lives up to its name. Euphoria placed number 17 on the iTunes and Billboard New Age charts and was featured in Top 40. Euphoria was nominated at the 2016 NAMMY Awards.
As a traditional Flutist and singer Cody Blackbird has been recognized as one of the top Native American Flutist’s touring today, reaching over 120 communities annually. Among the many places Cody has performed are:Yamaha World Headquarters “Ginza Studio” Tokyo, Japan, Wall Street Closing Bell performance for Native One Trading Company, University of Illinois, West Virginia University, University of Alaska, UCLA, Washington DC HIS, Native American Heritage month kickoff , Aboriginal Cultural Center Melbourne Australia, University of Arizona, Alcatraz Island, Old Town School of Folk Chicago IL, US Dept. of Justice Conference on Native American Rights (4 times), IHS National and regional conferences.
A discussion with Q&A on minority/ Native American awareness and the importance of awakening to the culture that surrounds us on a daily basis.
A story and discussion with Q&A about Cody’s experience of growing up as a mixed race bi- cultural student in a sometimes unwelcoming society.
Suicide Awareness “From the views of a survivor”
A story and discussion with Q&A looking at the reality of the suicide epidemic, discussing new ways of working with victims of depression.
Cody has found his calling as a musician and has had worldwide success especially with his band the Cody Blackbird Band as they have recently received attention and praise from pop sensation Mike Posner and the Steve Miller Band’s Kenny Lee Lewis as well as Kris Kristofferson and others.
Blending the old with the new, Cody merges the Native American flute with powerful vocals into contemporary blues rock sounds with The Cody Blackbird Band. The band has been compared to a hybrid Native version of the famous Blues rock band “Blues Traveler”
Featured on NBC, PBS, WGN, MSNBC, CNN and The NY Times, Cody has performed over 1500 shows both nationally and internationally. The Cody Blackbird Band has shared the bill with such artists as Arlo Guthrie, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Rickey Medlocke, Buffy St Marie Peter, Paul and Mary’s Peter Yarrow, Nahko Bear, Xavier Rudd, and Reggae legends “Big Mountain”
The Cody Blackbird Band carry a message of finding purpose and pursuing one’s life goals in a positive manner to reflect change in one’s self and thus their community and abroad, as well as stressing the importance of keeping culture alive in music.
The Cody Blackbird Band has been named the top Native American Band of 2016
“That’s some serious flute” Mike Posner
“Not only is Cody Blackbird an incredible Native Flute player, but I love how he blends the Native sound with blues and classic rock. He and his band definitely know how to bring the heart and soul.” Bibi McGill, Musical Director/Lead Guitarist for Beyonce
“Cody’s music, which he terms “AlterNative Fusion,” sits in a class by itself in the music world” Buffalo ArtVoice
“The Cody Blackbird Band is one of the most successful groups in native music today” Chicago Magazine