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NW musicians well represented in national Native music competition

Faran Sohappy record cover
The cover from Grand Coulee singer/engineer Faran Sohappy's second album

Two British Columbia acts win Native American Music Awards, but nominees from eastern Washington and Oregon are bypassed.

Native musicians from the Northwest had mixed success in last week’s Native American Music Awards.

Congratulations go to singer/songwriter Kelly Derrickson from West Kelowna, British Columbia. Derrickson won the Best Folk/Americana Recording award for her song “I Am Mother Nature.”

She wasn’t the only act from the Canadian province to win. A hiphop duo, the Snotty Nose Rez Kids based in Vancouver, took the Best Rap Hip Hop Video award.

Other Northwest artists nominated but shut out include Yakama tribal musician and engineer Faran Sohappy, who lives and works in Grand Coulee, Washington. Sohappy was nominated in three categories: Best Pow Wow Recording, Best Traditional Recording and Best Honor/Tribute Song.

“I am proud of how far I got on my own because I was a virtual unknown against some of the world’s best drum groups and the world’s best singers and some of the best Native artists," he said.

He made the trip back to Niagara Falls for the awards ceremony, hoping to hear his name called. But then Mother Nature dumped several feet of snow on western New York.

“We just stayed at the hotel. We literally couldn’t go anywhere. There were a few places open to eat, but right down the road from us was a little gas station that we kind of frequented," he said.

The ceremony was delayed for two days. Sohappy says the organizers asked if he could stay and attend in-person. That didn’t work for him, so he flew home and watched it on a livestream.

Among the other Northwest musicians nominated: Sohappy’s friend, hiphop artist James Pakootas, whose professional name is Just Jamez, from the Colville Confederated Tribes in Washington and Scott Kalama, a rapper known as Blue Flamez from the Warm Springs Confederated Tribes in Oregon.

See the complete list of winners here.

One of the Northwest's most seasoned reporters is returning to his SPR roots. Doug Nadvornick will be heard frequently on KPBX and KSFC reporting on local news.