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Buffy Sainte-Marie: Political Folk Rock

Folk singer BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE, a native Canadian from Saskatchewan, pioneered the cause of the Indigenous People of the Americas. Buffy had a very distinctive voice and technique, and was quite impressive singing live, while also advocating for peace and fair treatment for her native people.

 

A truly amazing person, Ms Sainte-Marie graduated in the Top 10 of her class from the University of Massachusetts, and then went on to get her Ph.D in Fine Art. But music was her first love. Buffy taught herself Piano and Guitar as teen, and after playing at Toronto's Coffee Houses, traveled to Greenwich Village in New York to join her fellow Canadians, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen and Neil Young.

 

In 1963 she had a bad throat infection and became addicted to CODEINE (spelled like that) which led her to write a song of that name, which would be covered by dozens of artists from Donovan to Courtney Love. Then she saw wounded soldiers coming home from Vietnam and wrote her great anthem, UNIVERSAL SOLDIER, Donovan covered it and had a hit.

 

In 1975 she was asked to appear on Sesame Street and at first declined, but then realizing this would be an opportunity to introduce Native Culture to children on TV, she signed on, appearing many times for the next 5 years. (She brought her son, Dakota "Cody" Starblanket Wolfchild with her and breast fed him on one episode.)

 

Buffy would continue to record and perform into the new century, and would speak out about the Red Power Movement, and the futility of the Vietnam War. But she revealed in 2008 that her music and that of other Native American Activists had been banned from radio back in the 1970s by President Johnson along with J. Edgar Hoover and then Dick Nixon, because they felt that her opposition to the war was having a negative effect on the country.

 

Buffy said, "I was put out of business in the United States." But they couldn't ban her from musical history, and we're fortunate that Scott found a beautiful video of Buffy Sainte Marie on Live TV performing her composition: UNIVERSAL SOLDIER in HQ Picture and Sound. @therealdonrocks

 

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