Native American activist Pura Fe celebrates the heritage and legacy of her ancestry in her work as a singer, dancer and teacher. Her latest CD, Follow Your Heart’s Desire, just out on the Hillsborough imprint Music Maker, reflects her own family stories as a Native American descendant of the Tuscarora Nation in the Roberson County area.

On the album, she delves into the musical contributions made by other indigenous people in the Southeast by reflecting their blues styles; Charley Patton was related to the Choctaws, and Scrapper Blackwell was part Cherokee.

Born in New York City, Pura Fe (her name, given by her Puerto Rican father, translates in Spanish as “Pure Faith”) was raised by her Tuscaroran mother and surrounded by a collective family of singers. She is internationally known for her work with the a cappella trio Ulali, but has come full circle to North Carolina to release this album devoted to the clans of her Tuscarora Nation. She is a part of the Deer Clan Singers, who perform Iroquois-based social dance and song. Pura Fe also extends encouragement through Follow Your Heart’s Desire. She explains: “One of the closest things to my heart is the Native youth of the Carolinas. Throughout this recording, I prayed to inspire them to create, to dream big and to dig deep into the roots of their culture, which can only survive through them. And if I could do this, they can do anything! They are the best!” More of Music Maker’s Fall Lineup Speaking of the Music Maker Relief Foundation, they have a set of new releases ready to be stuffed into stockings or boxed up for the gift-giving season. The great blues guitarist and singer Taj Mahal is closely involved with the work of Music Maker, as a prominent figure in support of the keepers of song. Now, in a couple of new fall releases in the Taj series, he shows up on tape, too. Piedmont guitarist Etta Baker, now 91, pairs up with Taj on some recent recordings, including her classic, “Railroad Bill.” Etta Baker with Taj Mahal also includes a set of Baker’s early influential recordings from 1956.

If Taj is pairing up with one of the MM artists, why not join up with a whole slew of them? On Music Makers with Taj Mahal, Taj backs up Cootie Stark, Neal Pattman, Cool John Ferguson, Algia Mae Hinton, Frank Edwards, Etta Baker, Lightnin’ Wells and Dave McGrew; accompanying on piano, guitar, bass, hambone and banjo. He also has two solo numbers on the record. Do yourself a favor and check out some of these regional heroes working with one of roots music’s greatest contemporary champions. For more information on Pura Fe and the Taj series, see the Music Maker site:

A Local Hip-Hop Rebellion Continues
The 21st Records label crew has put together another burner of a mini-tour of the Southeast. Their showcase series feature local up-and-comers, and this one is no exception. Next stop on The Rebellion Tour is Friday, Nov. 26, with some of the best but sometimes overlooked MCs paired with spinners from the area at the Berkeley Cafe in Raleigh. The roster includes lady rapper Mother Nature, MCs Buddy Klein, Cappello and Nasty Fruit, producer/MC K Hill with Ill Phil on the ones and twos. Look for more local lineups from the 21st folks, and their mixes and releases keep coming. For more info, check out