Pura Fé

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Pura Fé (born: Pura Fé Antonia ("Toni") Crescioni) is a songwriter, musician, and singer, and the founding member of a Native American women's a capella trio Ulali.

Personal life[edit]

Pura Fé was born in New York City and brought up by her mother, grandparents and family of women singers who are Tuscarora-Deer Clan, Blackwell family line. They count eight generations of singing sisters from North Carolina. The family moved to New York in the 1930s.

Her mother, Nanice Lund was a classically trained opera singer who toured with Duke Ellington and his Sacred Concert Series.

Her father, Juan Antonio Crescioni-Collazo, was born in Maunabo, Puerto Rico, of both Taino Indian and Corsican immigrant grandparents.

In New York City, Pura Fé was on the board of the American Indian Community House (AICH).  

She lives in Durham, North Carolina. [1]

Training[edit]

As an adolescent, Pura Fé studied and performed with the American Ballet Theatre, briefly trained at Martha Graham school and performed in Broadway musicals The Me Nobody Knows, Ari and Via Galactica. She also sang with the Mercer Ellington Orchestra.

She attended Lincoln Square Academy. In the late 1970s, she worked as a waitress at club Max's Kansas City in New York. Soon after, she began singing in bands and as a studio singer. She recorded jingles, commercials, backup vocals and lead on demos and recordings such as Good Enough written by James McBride.[2]

Career[edit]

In 1994, she was nominated and performed at the Juno Awards for Best Global Recording, for the album Condor Meets the Eagle by Kanatan Aski with Pura Fé. She released the CD, Mahk Jchi with Ulali on Corn, Beans and Squash Music and she appeared with Ulali on Robbie Robertson’s Music for the Native Americans.

In 1995, she released her first solo album, the R&B inspired, Caution to the Wind, written and produced by James McBride on Shanachie Records. She also appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno with Ulali and Robbie Robertson, debuting the Ulali song Mahk Jchi (Heartbeat Drum Song), which went platinum in Italy. In 1996, she appeared and toured on The Indigo Girls, Shaming of the Sun Album with Ulali.

She has appeared on recordings and film soundtracks like the Indigo Girls, Shaming of the Sun, Miramax’s Smoke Signals soundtrack, the Turner Documentary series The Native Americans, 1 Giant Leap DVD, The World Festival of Sacred Music for the Dalai Lama, Showtime's The L-Word, and "A Thousand Roads" soundtrack.

Pura Fé moved to North Carolina in the 1990s and volunteered to teach young people in the rural Indian communities of Robeson County, North Carolina. She won the Community Spirit Award from the First Peoples Fund of the Tides Foundation and later won its fellowship award for her volunteer contributions.

After hearing guitarist Kelly Joe Phelps perform, Pura Fé began to play the acoustic lap slide guitar and recorded her second solo album, Follow Your Heart's Desire, released on the Music Maker label.[3]

A year later, she opened for Neil Young in Berkeley, California, singing Rise Up Tuscarora Nation and Find the Cost of Freedom. As a solo artist, she has also opened for Herbie Hancock, Taj Mahal, Al Jarreau and George Duke.

Pura Fé won a NAMMY (Native American Music Award) for best female artist in 2006 and a L'Académie Charles Cros Award for best world album.

Her third album, Hold The Rain, was released in 2007 with guitarist Danny Godinez.

In late 2009, she released Full Moon Rising for DixieFrog Records and toured extensively throughout Europe.

She tours with her band, the Pura Fé Trio, which consists of Cary Morin on lead guitar and Pete Knudson on percussion. Her fifth solo album, a live double CD, was released in the spring of 2011: "A Blues Night in North Carolina." She currently performs with the Trio and the Deer Clan Singers and has announced a new Ulali album for 2014, as well as a new solo album in 2015.

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • Pura Fé Trio Live!: A Blues Night in North Carolina (Dixie Frog Records; Music Maker, 2011)
  • Full Moon Rising (Dixie Frog Records, 2009)
  • Hold The Rain (Dixie Frog Records, Music Maker 2007)
  • Tuscarora Nation Blues (Dixie Frog Records, 2006) (European release of "Follow Your Hearts Desire" with two extra songs.)
  • Follow Your Heart's Desire (Music Maker, 2004)
  • Mahk Jchi with Ulali (Thrush Records, 1997)
  • Caution to the Wind (Shanachie Records, 1995)

Side projects, Contributions & Collaborations[edit]

  • "The Rough Guide to Native America" (World Music Network,2012) Compilation
  • "The Voices - Women's Voices for Attawapiskat" (Toronto,CA.,2011) Album/Contributor/Collaboration
  • "Diverse As This Land Volume II" (Banff Centre, 2011) Compilation
  • Music Maker Revue - Live in Europe (Dixiefrog, 2011) Compilation
  • Deer Clan Singers - Deers R Us (Music Maker, 2011)
  • Native American Calling-Music from Indian Country Compilation (Trikont, 2010)
  • Indian Rezervation Blues Compilation (Dixie Frog, 2009)
  • Dans La Tête D'Un Homme Alexandre Kinn (Universal, 2008) Collaboration
  • Sisters of the South Compilation (Dixie Frog, 2008) Contributor
  • Drink House to Church House, Volume 2 DVD/CD set (Music Maker, 2007) Contributor
  • Blues Sweet Blues Compilation (Music Maker, 2007) Contributor
  • Only Breath Jami Sieber (Out Front Music, 2007) Contributor
  • The Last & Lost Blues Survivors Compilation (Dixie Frog, 2005) Contributor
  • Speaking the Mamma Tongue John McDowell (Raven, 2004) Lead vocals on two songs: "Face the Wind" & "Oma Wani Yea".
  • 1 Giant Leap (Palm Pictures, 2002) Contributor
  • Without Reservations XIT (Warrior, 2002) Guest appearance
  • The Ghosts of St. Augustine Tonemah (Red Sky, 2001) Collaboration
  • Always Be Jeffrey Gaines (Artemis, 2001) Background vocals
  • World Festival of Sacred Music - the Americas, Los Angeles (Bindu Records, 2000) Contributor
  • Songs for Chiapas (Ra Records, 1999) Compilation
  • Smoke Signals: Music from the Miramax Film Soundtrack (Tvt, 1998) Contributor.
  • Weaving The Strands: Music By Contemporary Native American Women (Red Feather, 1998)
  • Haida: The Haida Way (Red Vinyl, 1998) Background vocals
  • Shaming of the Sun, Indigo Girls (Sony, 1997)
  • Mirabal, Robert Mirabal (Warner Bros., 1997)
  • Lessons from the Animal People (Yellow Moon Press, 1997)
  • Tribal Fires: Contemporary Native American Voices (Rhino, 1996) Contributor
  • Honor: A Benefit for the Honor the Earth Campaign (Daemon, 1996) Contributor
  • Tribal Voices: Songs from Native Americans (Earthbeat, 1996) Contributor
  • Legends Project: I am an Eagle (Curb Records, 1995)
  • Heartbeat: Voices of First Nations Women (Smithsonian/Folkways, 1995) Contributor
  • The Fire This Time: Dancing on John Wayne's Head (Extreme, 1995) Compilation
  • Music for the Native Americans Robbie Robertson (Capitol Records, 1994)
  • Condor Meets the Eagle with Kanatan Aski (Black Jaguar Productions, 1994)
  • Maggie's Dream (Capitol Records, 1990) Vocals on "Between Fear & Desire"

References[edit]

  1. ^ Southern CulturesVol 15, No. 3, "Blues Power in the Tuscarora Homeland: The Music of Pura Fe" Published Fall 2009
  2. ^ The Fayetteville Observer, "Pura Fé dedicates her music to lifting up her people" Published Jan. 26, 2005
  3. ^ WUNC 91.5 "The State of Things"

External links[edit]