K. Mockingbird, aka Kelvin Bizahaloni, began playing flute when he was 16 years old. He was inspired after attending a concert at Flagstaff Mall where his uncle Irvin Tso was performing with Robert Tree Cody. The two musicians were playing music in the style of their own traditions, Dine/Navajo and Lakota, respectively. The music made a profound impression on the young man. That night he asked his uncle to make him a flute and his uncle agreed to do this in exchange for Mockingbird making a traditional grass dance outfit for him. Two weeks later they exchanged their items at a powwow.
Mockingbird said his uncle then taught him how to play the flute and blow through it, but he would not teach him his songs. “You have your songs inside you. It is part of becoming a man.” He practiced for three days and on the fourth day became discouraged and put the flute away. That night he awoke to a profound dream and the next morning took the flute off the wall.
Since then Mockingbird put out ten albums, most recently his fourth solo CD called “Night Echo – Star Seed. The first six were recorded with “Burning Sky” which included Aaron White, Michael Bannister, John Katz and John Densmore, former drummer of “The Doors”. One of these albums, “Spirits in the Wind”, was nominated for a Grammy in 2003 as Best Native American album. They also received several Native American Music Awards (NAMA) and Flagstaff Music Awards. He has played with Taj Majal, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Brown, Shaun Colvin, Lyle Lovett and Bruce Cockburn.
Mockingbird’s performance at the festival will be a mixture of original songs and stories. He explained traditional music is reserved for ceremonies. He feels his music is a “tool for healing a world of indifference……. trying to unite all…...becoming a human being.”
He will be performing two sets at the 5th annual Pocumtuck Homelands Festival on Saturday, August 4, at the Unity Park waterfront in Turners Falls, MA.