Nahko And Medicine For The People
About Nahko And Medicine For The People
A global fusion of rhythmic soul, R&B, folk, rock, and hip-hop, Nahko and Medicine for the People emerged in the beginning of the 2010s, led by charismatic frontman Nahko Bear, a sixth-generation Apache/Mohawk with a Puerto Rican/Indian mother and a Filipino father. The band's multicultural and motivational approach to music played out over a series of increasingly successful albums including the 2016 breakout Hoka. After stepping out for his first solo outing, Nahko reassembled his band for the dynamic 2020 album Take Your Power Back.
Adopted by a conservative white family near Portland, Oregon, Nahko (Nahkohe Parayno) suffered some early childhood identity problems until he began to ground himself in music. Taking up the piano at age six, he gave piano lessons and directed musical productions for local schools in his teens. His talents landed him a seasonal production position in Denali, Alaska, and there, with the wilderness around him, he began to put all the musical, cultural, and philosophical pieces of his personal creative vision together.
Seeing music as international, multi-generational, and multicultural, and as a redemptive and healing force, he joined with his backing group, Medicine for the People, anchored by horn player and Berklee School of Music graduate Max Ribner and percussionist Hope Medford. Together they began making what has been called "thump-hop," a percussion-heavy, rainbow-envisioned mix of styles and approaches that is, at times, as much spoken word as anything else; a sort of 21st century medicine show for the mind and soul.
The group's debut album, Dark as Night, appeared in 2013, and debuted at number six on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart. After the follow-up, 2014's On the Verge, SideOneDummy released the group's third album in 2016. Titled Hoka, it reached number 72 on the Billboard 200, marking a significant breakout for Nahko and Medicine for the People who by this point had become a hard-touring festival favorite. A year later, the band's leader released a more personal solo album, My Name Is Bear, under the name Nahko. Calling it a "prequel," it consisted of songs written mostly before he assembled his group. The band reunited for 2020's Take Your Power Back, a soulful set which explored themes of trauma and reconciliation. ~ Steve Leggett
HOMETOWNLos Angeles, CA