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Will America Make Room For Indigenous Musicians?

November 12, 2021 | 12:26 PM by Morgan Enos

A festival promoter told Delbert Anderson he didn't present as Indigenous enough. The trumpeter and his group, DDAT, showed up to the State Fair of Texas in what he calls "the Native American section" — filled with dancers in traditional garb, among other signifiers. DDAT, for their part, donned suits. 

"They immediately assumed that we had some type of traditional feather show," Anderson, who is of Diné and Navajo descent, tells "They probably thought we were going to show up in regalia or something."

The promoter asked Anderson whether or not DDAT played traditional music. "No, we don't," he responded. "But there are a lot of melodies that are inspired from that." The promoter didn't comprehend this — so much so that she went up to Anderson mid-set and shoved a turquoise necklace around his neck. 

Anderson was shocked. "I kind of stopped and said, 'Excuse me,'"

Anderson records Don Cherry Tribute Album

October 20 - 24, 2021 @ Frogville Studios in Santa Fe, NM

Anderson brought musicians together from around the nation:

Christopher Beaty, Mali Obomsawin, Nicholas Lucero, Robert Muller, Pura Fe, Julia Keefe, James Pakootas and Alexandria Holiday. 

These musicians are all featured in the upcoming Don Cherry Tribute Album. The album is supported by Mark Weiss and his label Lions with Wings located in Palo Alto, CA. The moment Mark heard the sound of D'DAT he immediately offered a recording deal to Anderson with the hopes of creating a tribute to Don Cherry through a Diné musical lens. 

Spirit Coalescent Premiers in Farmington, NM

August 8, 2021 | Community project premiers at Farmington Civic Center

Sunday August 8,2021 at 2:00 PM the Spirit Coalescent had a sneak peek of their multi arts collaboration. 

The project consists of Photography, Painting, Music, Dance and Poetry.

The Spirit Coalescent tells the story of healing through 8 large paintings of landscapes. It is a common belief from many Indigenous tribes that "The Land Heals Us". 

Spirit Coalescent brings out the healing of each landscape through stories, poems, painting/photo fusions, original compositions and dance/choreography. 

Stay tuned for a very deep meaningful story.


Grammy Awards Article Feature

May 2021 | Meet navajo jazz trumpeter

Anderson shares the story of contemporary Diné music.  

CMA Magazine Feature

Chamber Music America

Something Bigger Than Us (Pg 34 - 38)

Anderson receives 2021 SSB Away Residency


Based in Farmington, New Mexico, Delbert Anderson is a Diné jazz-trumpet artist, composer, educator, and community leader. Founding the Delbert Anderson Trio and the band DDAT, the artist weaves Diné melodies into sound through the study and incorporation of Navajo Spinning songs—ultimately preserving them in a contemporary way. As jazz instructor at San Juan College, Farmington, New Mexico, Delbert developed the Native American Music Program, a crash course in music business and musical performance. Delbert contributed to the establishment of the San Juan Jazz Society, which helped incorporate music into the Farmington community, ultimately influencing the city’s recognition as a New Mexico Arts & Cultural District in 2018. Anderson won the 2019 Native Launchpad award from the Western Arts Alliance Advancing Indigenous People (AIP) program; the 2018 Trumpet Consortium Scholarship from the University of Colorado, Boulder; the 2018 Connie Gotsch Arts Foundation award; and a recent Chamber Music America award. Delbert plans to spend his time in Abiquiu developing a tribute to Don Cherry, practicing spiritual reflection, and considering how his work can be used to positively combat cultural inequity. text

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