From Kyle Hopkins --
How about some Yup'ik language rock?
Maybe you missed the fledging Bethel-based band Frozen Whitefish at the state fair -- and on Discovery's "Flying Wild Alaska. There's still time to catch up on the group's MySpace and Facebook pages before their full-length album hits next year.
Here's that state fair performance of "Maani Alaskami."
I asked frontman Mike McIntyre to tell the group's origin story. Here's what he had to say:
Frozen Whitefish is a Bethel based Alaskan Native Yupik Rock band formed in 2010 and all lyrics are written in the Yupik Eskimo language. Frontman Mike McIntyre was raised in the small village of Eek and spoke Yupik as his first language before moving to Bethel as a young child.
Frozen Whitefish was first a project started by Mike after he returned from a trip to Greenland where he played drums for the Kuskokwim Fiddle Band in the Inuit Circumpolar Conference in 2010. He was inspired by the influence of their Native language in their own music and wanted to do the same here in Alaska. Soon after he started recording his music in his home studio, he got a request from a Native radio station in Washington to send his songs over to a TV producer with the Discovery Channel, which was gathering Native music for the "Flying Wild Alaska" TV show.
Songs ‘Kenkamken’ and ‘Maani Alaskami’ have aired on the first season of the Flying Wild Alaska series and have given exposure of his music to a wider audience.
Early in 2011, Mike won an Artist Award grant from the Rasmuson Foundation to record a full-length album to be released next year. A five-song EP has been released to get eager fans access to the music before the full-Length album comes out. Frozen Whitefish has also performed at this year’s Alaska State Fair and wants to play more live shows in Alaska.
The band is Mike McIntyre (vocals, guitar), Bobby Gregory (lead guitar), Anthony Shield (bass) and Jeff Typpo (drums).
If you know of a rural Alaska band or musician who would like to tell his or her story, send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. (And I'm still on the lookout for some fall whaling photos!)