Martha Redbone

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Martha Redbone
Philadelphia Folk Festival 2018 DSC 0275 (42368247180).jpg
Background information
OriginKentucky, United States
GenresR&B, and soul music

Martha Redbone is an American blues and soul singer of part Choctaw, European and African-American descent. She has won awards for her contemporary Native American music. Her music is a mix of rhythm and blues, and soul music influences, fused with elements of traditional Native American music.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Martha Redbone was born in Kentucky[2] and spent time with maternal grandparents in Harlan County. She had maternal roots in Clinch Mountain, Virginia and other parts of Appalachia. She absorbed music from many local traditions: African American, Cherokee, Choctaw, English folk music, and others. Her father had a strong gospel music tradition from North Carolina.[3] She grew up learning and exploring her Native American roots among Cherokee and Choctaw, and directed her music to absorb those traditions.


Redbone became a musician and singer, exploring soul with Native American undertones. Since bursting onto the scene at the 2002 Native American Music Awards, she has earned a reputation as collaborator, performer, educator, and mentor across native North America and in some cases abroad. In early 2007, Redbone's Skintalk won The 6th Annual Independent Music Awards for Best R&B Album.[4]

Her 2012 work, The Garden of Love – Songs of William Blake, sets Blake's poetry to music that draws from rural influences of Appalachia: English folk, African American, and Native American traditions. She toured nationally in 2013 with what she called The Martha Redbone Roots Project.[3] The New York Times said her voice holds “both the taut determination of mountain music and the bite of American Indian singing.”[5]


  • Home of the Brave (2001)
  • Skintalk (2004)
  • Future Street (2006)
  • The Garden of Love – Songs of William Blake (2012)


  1. ^ "Martha Redbone", Soultracks
  2. ^ Anastasia Tsioulcas, "Martha Redbone Roots Project: globalFEST 2013", NPR, 16 January 2013, accessed 16 June 2014
  3. ^ a b "The Martha Redbone Roots Project" Archived 2013-12-07 at the Wayback Machine, August 2013, The Ark (Ann Arbor, MI), accessed 16 June 2014
  4. ^ "6th Annual Winners" Archived 2009-05-01 at the Wayback Machine, Independent Music Awards
  5. ^ "The Martha Redbone Roots Project", Freight & Salvage Coffee House, 2013, accessed 16 June 2014

External links[edit]