Nahko Bear here! Apache/Puerto Rican/Filipino descent, singer of Nahko and Medicine for the People, activist, and storyteller. AMA!
Hey Reddit! I’m the singer of Nahko and Medicine for the People. We are a musical collective and strive to be the motivation and inspiration for all members of our Tribe. I’m of Apache, Puerto Rican & Filipino descent. I’ve moved all over the United States and found my current home in Hawaii. I strive to raise awareness for Native and Indigenous communities. Music has always been my passion. I learned to play piano when I was 9 and never looked back. I have been able to work through my challenging past with the storytelling abilities I learned in Alaska and Medicine for the People. I like to break down people’s walls with music and honest, raw storytelling. We’re currently on tour in the US and about to embark on our first European tour later this month with our EU album release.
Here’s PROOF it’s me.
Let’s do this, Reddit! Ask Me Anything!
EDIT: Thanks for all your questions, Tribe! I'll try to jump in later & answer some more. This was fun. Let's do it again soon.
Uncle Akama! from hilo!
Hello, my name is Morgan Stone! Let me first start off by saying that I find it truly admirable that you are taking the time to do this for those who love you so much.
Before I give my actual question, I would like to express to you my reasoning behind it! When I was first introduced to your music and everything that it represents, I was already in a period of change. You have no idea how much you helped me find the path I was seeking! Your music gave me such a feeling of inner peace, and an overall sense of well being. You helped open my eyes to the things that are truly important in life, those that are not, and what I can do as a human being to better myself and those around me!
Thanks for taking the time to hear these thoughts of mine, haha. With that being said... I would like to ask you Nahko Bear, who or what has inspired you in a powerful way, and helped guide you to discovering your own inner peace?
lots of time in creation gave me the guidance i needed to learn how to let stuff roll of my shoulders. it took lots of practice and i'm still not that good at it, but i can share my process in song. i've witnessed such forgiveness in my time and i want to see that reflected in other peoples lives too.
Hey Nahko. We love you and have seen you a few times on the east coast and unfortunately we are missing your show in Denver as we have to work. Everyone else has said it so much better than me on here but your music has been life changing for me.
What are a few of your favorite books, or books that have had a deep impact on you?
the bible actually taught me a lot, the art of war, the tao, the lone ranger and tonto fist fight in heaven, god is red.
Nahko! You and MFP are my favorite band of all time, You guys send such a powerful message! Your music helps me strive to do better for the beautiful world around me and I really just wanted to thank you for that. You guys killed it so hard at hullaween and can't wait to have you back for the purple hatter's ball. were one huge family at Suwannee! We gotta know what you think of the tribe we have growing out here in fla? Much love brotha~
y'all are super special and full of good viiiiiibes!!!
Hey Nahko! I saw you guys play last week, the show was amazing, you tore the roof off the place. It's been driving me crazy all week, what was that instrument called that Patricio took out half way through the show?
Thanks for bringing medicine to the people, man. Your music makes every single day much more blissful.
hey! it's an african instrument called a Cora!
Hey brother! Two questions:
- What would you do if you were a 18 year old high school graduate who doesn't know which direction to turn?
- Do ego bother you sometimes? If yes, how do you humble it?
that's a great question. i guess it would depend on where i was living and my home situation. i think an over all idea would be to take whatever risks i could to follow a passion. if i didn't know my passion i would travel. regardless of money or economic situation i would be trying to learn from as many people as i could why they do what they love and how they discovered it. maybe in that way i would find my own path and passion.
yeah ego is a constant shadow. one of my fav ways of cleansing is sweat lodge.
You mention children a few times "I teach my children who to trust" "countless ways to feed my kids". I know you don't have children, but do you want to have children? As you are the voice of my generation (to me) and a great source of love and inspiration, I think you'd be a great father with much wisdom.
definitely! i love kids. someday, but not soon! haha.
Nahko, Black As Night has inspired Rachel Brathen's forearm tattoo! Your music is clearly an important piece of her life. Do you know Rachel (yoga girl) personally?
SHE'S AMAZING! yeah, we know each other. trying to connect and do a class with her soon!
Nahko, After seeing you perform at Electric Forest 14’ & specifically Resonance at Frontier Ranch in Pataskala, Ohio, I’ve become more aware of the dangers of fracking. I currently live in Pittsburgh, PA…where the Marcellus Shale Coalition resides and many people have relations to other companies that partake in fracking.
I feel like the people in this area need something to open their eyes and minds…as did I.
That “something” was you… and I am wondering if you would ever make it out to Pittsburgh or somewhere on the East Coast where fracking is a major issue to voice the problem on a large scale and deliver the musical medicine to the people? Much love, Brittney Chantele
P.S. I’ll see you at Resonance again in September!
hey brit, i hope to be out there again soon. my good friend josh fox is a huge activist out there - check his work out - and we hope to link soon and do more awareness campaigns in your area! x
Nahko ! I heard a rumor from some crazy dude in Oregon that you're a lizard person pregnant with twins ! Any validity to the rumor ? He provided me with this picture as proof Nahko is a lizard person pregnant with twins
IT'S SO TRUE.
i love you BRANDON.
What would you say are some of the biggest ways we as a people can help change the world for the better? What to you are some of the biggest things that make a difference in every day life?
merge with other kinds of people that you typically would stay away from. find purpose in your offering to them. we often stay so far away from people who we don't 'get' or seem different then us. we are so used to staying in our comfort zone. we forget to reach out. you never know who you're going to touch. stay open. find a balance. it takes practice. simple acts of kindness have always shaped and molded our experience.
things that make a difference in my everyday life is solid time with my body - like stretching - to awaken my body after my slumber - spending time with people that make me laugh - day dreaming - and unplanned adventures!
Naaaahhhhkkkoooo!!! I've been listening to youtube videos for months now, songs like Alice, Die like Dinoz, Hold your Arrow True… New album? When do you think you'll record?
we're in the process of getting things organized to record this year!
Hey Nahko Huge fan! How can a disabled fan (me) get a photo with you? Standing outside the back door of the arena for hours waiting isn't exactly an option for me. 😔. But I'd give anything to meet you and I have a gift for you as well. I'm going to the March 12th concert in Denver. Moving to Hilo in about 4 months to live off grid! 🌺
hey hey! i'll keep my eye out for you and try get a photo wit ya!
Hi Nahko, Black As Night is such a positively-charged and influential song, it touched so many with the wise lyrics and soul-moving melody (including myself!). It is truly medicine. How did this song come to you when you wrote it? What's the big inspiration behind it?
transmutation. i was staring at the moon drinking wine in upstate new york with my dog. it just came out. boom.
Nahkooooo bearrr You are quite the human being. My girl and I saw you at the Yoga Jam in Floyd, Virginia this past August. It was incredible. Probably one of the best times of our lives so far. Your music has made a huge impact on us as people and in the moment of meeting you face to face, we were so caught up with the fact that we were talking to freaking nahko bear that we had just totally blanked everything we wanted to say to you. So thank you for getting on reddit and giving us this opportunity. Your music never fails to be so uplifting. Every time I listen to a song, I find a new meaning to it that I had never picked up before. It's beautiful how you can write lyrics in a way that they can have such meaning and still be reflected so perfectly by the music. You guys are extremely talented and I hope that you never stop making music. You are what this world needs. So now for some questions! How were you introduced to the flower of life? And what kind of impact has it had on you as a person? What is your favorite song to play live with the band, or as a solo bear? What kind of music do you listen to on your own time? Who do you think has had the biggest impact on you musically? There was a point during that festival that we were exploring the grounds. We went into the cabin (actually looking for an atm) and as we were walking up the stairs from the basement we heard you guys singing/warming up. We panicked hahaha and instantly just felt that we weren't supposed to be in there. Looking back on that, I really wish that we had ran up those stairs to kick it with you guys. Would have been such a sweet opportunity. But it's okay. I'm happy we were able to meet you all and you put on a killer show. One more thing. You said that you've only been to Virginia two times, and both times you came to beautiful Floyd Virginia. I think that is amazing. Indian valley and the buffalo mountain of floyd have an interesting history. This place is very unique. It has such pure energy and good vibes. I wonder if this was your plan, or if it was solely a coincidence that you ended up in such a spiritual little town. We hope to see you guys back in floyd some day soon! And make sure Hope gets on board this time! Much love for nahko and medicine for the people - cib and bib http://m.imgur.com/a/ahEyu
lots of questions. try to answer a few here. flower of life was introduced to me by some friends in hawaii. it was everywhere. then spirit science. such good things to think about. favorite song is usually the newest, but with the band it's probably warrior. a call to action. next time come say hi! we'll be back your way soon enough. big love. oh and i listen to way too much drake, ed sheeran, hozier, bright eyes, clinton fearson, BKB, zella day, trevor hall, and of course angus stone.
Hey I'm from the Black Hills of South dakota. I'm coming to see you Friday in Boulder and I saw you and uncle mana at the Unity Concert in piedmont and was wondering if you've made any plans to return? Pre sure this one is during the summer so it won't be so cold. Also just since the black hills are where I connect with spirit I was wondering if you've read black elk speaks? Honestly the most important piece of literature to have come out and Black Elk is who they want to rename Harney here after. Much love nahko can't wait to see you again.
yeah many songs have been inspired by that book and black elks life.
uncle paul, the one working on changing the name will be at our denver/bouldr shows.
You've been traveling since I saw you at HSMF 2014, and even before that. How do you stay so ripped on tour? Seriously.
yoga. push ups. and burger king. JOKING. haha. umm, i dance a lot on stage and do a lot of stretching etc. i dunno. good jeans. oops. genes.
Hey there, sweet thang! I had a friend tell me that at Envision last year you mentioned to the crowd that Budding Trees is a lot more literal than many realize. Could you share that story with us? Keep on crushin' it my friend. It makes me so happy to see random Facebook "friends" post videos of you live. Your journey to expand the consciousness of festival-goers and average joe's and Sally's alike has only just begun! The good things ARE coming! Sending much love and gratitude to MFTP. Xo
hey! yeah budding trees is about when i got eye surgery - lasic. i was pretty blind since age 12 and when i got eye surgery i was also breaking up with a partner of 4 years and i finally was able to see that we had to go in separate directions. duality baby! bless.
Hi Nahko! If someone came to you wondering how they could begin to be of service in this world, a way to contribute toward the good things coming, what would you suggest? Thank you for doing this ama, and for creating such transcendent music <3
be you. fill your world with love. it's a huge umbrella question but follow your bliss. and be real with people. always.
Hey Nahko! I absolutely love your music and the amazing causes you guys stand for. I saw your show in Madison Wisconsin in October and in all honesty it was the best night of m life. I have two questions for you. First, do you plan on coming back to Wisconsin? Secondly, what is your interpretation or meaning of "Mitakye Oyasin"? Thank you so much by the way for a perfect concert. Much love -TJ Ziegler
ALL MY RELATIONS.
Do you ever get tired of being perfect?
luckily, i'm far from perfect so i get a lot of rest.
Its Kirbys Elephant, do you remember me?
I love hearing how strong your voice has gotten, hearing it helps me through dark times.
Thank you and keep shouting. -S
SARAH. miss you. xo
This is going to be an odd question, but...
I love how inspirational your music is, but I don't always agree with all of it. Why do you oppose the income tax?
Also, can you confirm either EF or Shambhala this year?? I saw you last year at the forest and would love to see it again. I love you with your band, but with Xavier Rudd it was just...pure magic. Holy crap.
Thanks for doing the AMA. Much love.
watch zeitgeist dude! my dad worked for the IRS and it was always a hard talking point for us. in a system that doesn't even really exist....we shouldn't have to pay income tax - tax on the money we earn hard work etc. google the federal reserve doesn't exist. big love!
Hey Nahko! I just want to thank you for your music. Real medicine! I'm also interested in do you eat meat?
yup. was veggie for four years, but switched back when i started living in hawaii and hunting my own.
Nahko! There are huge changes going on for your fans on the rez, any words of wisdom on how to stay true to yourself and your traditions while kicking butt in their world too?
the time is now to be merging old ways with new. building bridges outside of the rez to connect the culture and the traditions. education to all non-natives is crucial so that the mystery and confusion about appropriation, spirituality, and our battles is better understood.
Hey Nahko, big fan of you and medicine for the people!
Your story is so inspiration and how you make it come across in songs is truly wonderful! What is your writing process? Your songs vary from one to the other with varying tempos and beats throughout, I would like to know what goes through your mind when composing it?
Massive fan, keep up the inspiring music and make your way to the UK! Peace
it's always different! sometimes i'm in the car, on the toilet, in the forest, in mid convo.....it's like a weird thing i get. i hear one liners and subject matter starts flowing.
I love that you are coming back to Utah and we will see you at The Canyons Ski resort on March 21st. This will be my fourth time seeing you and getting the Medicine. Did you cut your Mohawk to support your humility? Since this is the last stop on this leg of the tour would you have time to do a short ceremony with us, UTAH Tribe?
yes, cut the hair to let go of the past. world water day is 22nd so yes ceremony for sure. x
Hey Nahko! How old are you? I've always wondered.
Thank you for inspiring me and my brother. He was the emotional one in the prayer circle on the street after the first show of the water is life tour in Bloomington, indiana. If you could have dinner with three people from anytime in history who would they be? And the one book you would recommend to people if you had to choose one?
peltier, marely, mendela.
Nahko! Hey! Thank you so much for doing this AMA, and taking the time to reflect with the tribe. After finding you through my obsession with Trevor Hall, you and MFTP have quickly become my favorite group. Seeing with how efficiently you’re making this movement move too, I don't think I'll ever lose interest in yew guys. My favorite songs of yours to perform are "Aloha Ke Akua" "Warrior People" "Vultures of Culture" and "Build a Bridge". What I always found interesting with your music is how none of your tracks are typically less than five minutes. I really enjoy this because it makes each song a journey. Not only do you spread your message so fluently, but you also make sure each song reaches it musical potential which I really appreciate.
I have two questions for you:
1) What is the instrument during the breaks in "Simplicity"? Is it just a keyboard on a preset?
2) How do you stay so fit on the road? It seems that your physique has only improved over the years even though you are traveling now more than ever.
P.S. Come to Burlington, VT! Theres lots of Medicine fans here at UVM!
P.S.S. If you do ever come to Burlington, gimme a shoutout! I'd love to jam on stage with you for a song or two!
Nahko, you beautiful motherfucker! I'm gonna try my best to see you guys this summer.
What bands are you listening to currently, and what new albums are you most excited about?
sheeran, drake, trevor hall, broken social scene, bright eyes, ella fitzgerald, angus stone, zella day, calle 13, don omar, and a little rhianna now and again.
Nahko! I saw you at the Thompson House in October. You were incredible! My question is what is your favorite pastime when you're not working on your music?
Nahko!!! Thank you for being on the Zen Cruise, it was an amazing time! We are so thrilled you guys are coming to Europe next week!!! We will be driving to Lille to see you. Is this your first time performing in France and Belgium?
Do you listen to podcasts? Which do you recommend?
hunter s thompson! haha
Hey Nahko! This is your curly haired, bird-loving driver from Wanderlust, Taupo! I am actually on my way to HAWAII in 10 days! I am on my first pilgrimage home to the U.S. Firstly, are you guys playing in Hawaii at all between the 21st/March-sometime in April? I would love to see you guys again. Secondly, can you recommend anything I must do in Hawaii, which island to go to, anywhere to WWoof?
Love ya xx
CLIMB TO MAUNA KEA ON THE BIG ISLAND!
Nahko, I gave you my album at the B.E. Easy Festival in Lake Worth, FL on 2/14. It had two wolves on the cover. I was wondering if you had time to listen to it? If so, what did you think?
brendan, it was a great cd. loved the song you wrote about me. it was super cool! thanks!
I Love you are putting yourself out their, as a real person, living real life, practicing your medicine as a leader for all, a teacher for all, and still yet a student <3 I missed you guys last year, was too close to bringing life onto earth, but was hoping to have opportunity this year....any chances PA be in the future or close to in 2015?
not sure yet, but stay tuned!
Do you think that people will ever be able to set race aside and.. just be ?
Hey Nahko great to see you on reddit.
What is your favorite food to snack on?
I will be coming to see you at your Paris show, but how long is the set you are playing there? I will have to travel across several countries to get there and was hoping for a long and awesome set since you guys don't make it over here to Europe very often.
Keep the good thing coming!
awesome. we get an hour set every show so come to a few shows. snacks: fruit and kale chips dude.
Brah! The Shaman's Shaman. Much thanks for all that deep, healing medicine you lay on the world. My quick question/s: Is your meditation practice a formal lineage (TM, Vispassana, etc..) or is it your own unique creation? Or did it start formally and morph after a bit? Mad gratitude for your prodigious tour schedule too - allowing so many of us to tap in live on the reg! Denver & Boulder make shows # 6 &7 for me since both your Moms blew us all away at the Wow Hall. Always such powerful medicine ya'll, worth every hitchhiking inconvenience!...<3 to you all...
my own creation! x
Hey nahko! First discovered you through rachel brathen (or yoga girl) both of you have been big influences in my life thus far. What was your inspiration for wash it away? I live in San diego and I missed you by a minute! I go to ucsd and I'm wondering why you don't make a point of performing at colleges? So many of us need a voice and energy like yours. Consider it! The Che cafe of UCSD would dig having you. Love from San Diego
working on it!
HI THERE NAHKO, what is your favourite song you wrote??
usually, the most recent song i'm working on is my favorite! because its the most relevant stuff i'm going thru. x
Have you ever considered you are picking up where Bob Marley left off ? (chills as I type this) You reach every age, religion, race and give hope. PLEASE ANSWER THIS :)
i guesss i feel like i'm super grateful for the work he did and continues to do in the world even while he's not here. i hope my path leads me somewhere similar. he helped us learn how to carry the torch. so yeah. we carry it onward.
Will Dustin Thomas be back with Medicine for the People for Cali Roots? I see him on the lineup! I'm hoping we get to see him back on stage with you guys. So excited :)
not this year. soon, though. they will hear our roar. x
Hi Nahko, I've been a huge fan since you first popped into Harmony Park, MN, and I have been spreading your music to friends since then. The impact you've had is immeasurable! I'd like to ask so many things, but I'll keep it to a general question: What has influenced the evolution of your story-telling since your first set of released songs, like Budding Trees and Aloha Ke Akua, to Dark As The Night, to your new album's songs the most? What would you say has changed since the earlier songs? We feel your songs so deeply that knowing how you evolved on the inside would be most helpful. Also, knowing this could give us a peek into what mind-set and heart-space to expect in your upcoming album, if you're willing to share. Thanks a bunch for doing this! Continued blessings and travels. May you reach many millions with open ears and open hearts who are ready to take action towards making our Earth a better place to thrive in. Love, Brandi aka "Fauna"
PS: thanks for dancing to Michael Jackson for me when I was sad, lol!!! You are a crazy awesome man who will always be impossibly challenging to forget. Glad your cause is a righteous one, lol!
we have to open up to more love. that's what i'm working on for the next record.
How's Koda? Sweet little bear dog of love. So happy I got to meet that little man.
he's doing so much better thanks for the prayers!
Hey Nahko! Thank you for the medicine! When will you be in the Midwest again? Or back in st Louis!? Also, when are you going to marry Leah!? Your vibes back and forth are so intense!! You can see the love :) I believe!!
soon! leah and i are besties. no marriage plans lol.
Hey Nahko! First I’d like to thank you for doing your thing and bringing such incredible music into existence. My fiancee and I first discovered you at Wakarusa in 2014 and we’ve been hooked ever since!
- Is ALL of your music written by you? We’re particularly in love with Creation’s Daughter and Arms of our Daughters right now, and we’d love to know for certain if you wrote these two gems yourself.
- Are these two above songs going to be on your next album?
- Do you have a loose or firm release date for your next album release? We can’t wait!
- My lady, and her friends, are starry eyed over you… This makes me really want to wrestle you. No question, just letting you know.
yes, all songs by me and my dog. haha. yes, although 'arms' is called 'die like dinoz' super loose. this year though. copy that. maybe that can be arranged. i'm wiley. x
Hi Nahko!! 😄 Are you or any other members of Medicine for the People vegan?
nope. we all pretty much paleo.
How did you and Trevor meet? The two of you are the strongest channels I have ever encountered and the sound that comes through to your souls and that you share with us is without compare! Tour together some day?
i heard trevor's music years ago when i first got to big island. fell in love with it. met him finally at a festival three years ago and it's a long funny story, but we eventually became best friends. fer reals. we toured last year together and will be around each other a lot this year too.
When will you be coming back to the East coast? Will we see you at Gathering of the vibes or great north?! Love your music, good vibes.
What advice can you give young folks today who grow up with identity issues? I can relate, with a half white and half native Hawaiian family, where the Hawaiian side was basically pushed out of our lives. Never learned about our family roots until i was an adult? Would love to know what you would say to anyone in that situation. Much love!
get over needing validation from your culture! that one took me forever. once i let it go, they came to me and i got filled up with all i needed to root into my people's past and present and future.
taken. but, thanks!
Who is the female singer in Dinner Party? Zella?
naw, jenna love!
You into Ed Sheeran's music?
Have you ever thought about going to Burning Man?
One of the principles is decommodification. "Itty-bitty economies based on geography
Fueled by spectators and their money
And their need for things that will not last
So go on, build a hotel, a gift shop in the wilderness"
As well as leave no trace, participation (no spectators), and unofficially impermanence.
Also a good place to hold talks about fracking and brainstorm sessions about solutions.
I would also be beyond stoked if you played music. I've spun some of your songs on the art car I drive and people come from out of the woodwork in hopes that it is live.
Art Car: https://m.facebook.com/MovementofJahPeopleBM
I also met the love of my life because of your music, and will be moving to Oregon to be with her. So thank you so much. The universe and it's infinite size doesn't compare to the love I have for her, nor my gratitude for the music y'all make.
Feel free to DM me with any questions(or to get my contact info), let's make the movement move.
yes i went to BM in 2007 i believe it was the green man. i went alone, slept under my car, and didn't know a soul there. i felt pretty alone cuz i wasn't good at reaching out and meeting people then. but, i had an amazing time. then i watched "american outrage" - i think it's necessary for everyone to have an 'experience' but, it's crazy to know what the BLM has done to the Shoshone people and the wild mustangs in that area. yew gotta pay rent to the BLM to use that land burning man is on. anyway. perspective. plus, so much waste! it was supposed to be green man but all i could see was waste everywhere. that's all i got. not against it. glad you're blasting the medicine on the playa!
Bear!! I've always wanted to know, who is speaking at the beginning of Mitakuye Oyasin?! <3
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