Hello and welcome to the new site for Underwater Panther Coalition! As we relaunch this website it seems a good time to update our community and welcome new people. Underwater Panther Coalition (UPC) is committed to amplifying indigenous worldviews and honoring the central role that music plays in them while supporting the communities from which they come. Nature and culture intertwined through sound and music in forms of reciprocity.
Traditionally the role of music in culture is far more central and holistic than what is found in western mainstream society. Music plays a central role in the life of a functional community. Musical ways are an essential form of medicine, gratitude, reciprocity, ceremony, history, law, knowledge, and cultural innovation. Music and sound are tools for creating balance and harmony between physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of people and their wider communities, a central way to fulfill obligations of gratitude and energetic exchange with all of our kin and Mother Earth. Music is integral to maintaining the right relationships within communities and with extended communities. Sophisticated musical methodologies have been developed all over the world for maintaining and deepening relationships with seen and unseen worlds. We must remember music’s central role. Through music, song, and story embodied wisdom and knowledge is passed along to maintain the fluidity of a functional and balanced society. These sonic domains are central to cosmological world making where communication between humans and non-humans is valued. Understanding these domains creates a tool kit for protecting and restoring indigenous narratives and the right relationship to place. This essentialness of song and story is what Underwater Panther Coalition is here to amplify and support. This is music for decolonization and cultural restoration.
There’s a lot happening with UPC these days. In November we released Earth Surface People’s beautiful and poignant EP entitled “500 Years”. The groups’ first full-length album will be released on April 22, and we are very excited for people to hear it! The album features collaborations from across Turtle Island and is guaranteed to inspire. It’s a great record that makes a contemporary statement while weaving past, present, and future together from a uniquely Diné perspective. Following this will be the release of my new record, ‘Songs of Connection’ which was inspired to a degree by my son’s coming of age, and a felt need to bring more direct messaging of the original instructions into the songs. It’s a sonically varied album with everything from ‘Link Wray plays cumbia’ to ‘world art rock balladry,’ all with the intention of honoring Mother Earth.
We are also thrilled about a collaborative musical ethnography with Theresa Bear Fox, to be released in late spring. Theresa is an ultra gifted singer and songwriter from Akwesasne who began writing for her traditional Kanien’kehá:ka woman’s singing group twenty years ago. Her songs have had a valuable impact in her community and throughout the world. They are used to teach the Mohawk language and in the restoration of several ceremonies at Akwesasne. She is an inspiration in her gift for songwriting, her humble service, and her wonderful personality.
Appreciation is a form of reciprocity. It’s an active practice that can be engaged in many ways. Listening is a key form of appreciation, whether it’s your local soundscape or artists like these, it is a great way to engage in a circular energetic exchange that feeds us all. Music has the power to permeate boundaries. Show us some love by subscribing to our monthly newsletter and supporting the artists on Underwater Panther Coalition. Together lets heal the separation between culture and ‘nature’ through music.
Images by Tom ‘Asher’ Hammang