County: Thurston County
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Itsa Shash is a Native American storyteller, poet, and multi-talented musician and vocalist. Descended from Indeh (Apache), Nahua, and Xicano Indio peoples, raised in southern Colorado, Itsa now resides in Washington State. Itsa previously worked as the director of the Bala Sinem (Red People) Choir, and performed with NAMMY award winner Moiety and Grammy Award winner Bill Miller. Itsa is an active member of the Northwest Indian Storytellers Association.
Since he was four years old, Itsa has been bringing social stories and music to schools and social gatherings as a means to preserve culture, empower community, and share wisdom and joy. Itsa’s music is deeply inspired by his Native American heritage, particularly from growing up immersed in Sundance, Mexica danza, Native American Church, and powwow culture. Before he was born, he began learning traditional music from his mother, who sang to him with the heartbeat of the drum.
Itsa received 2017 GAP Award funding for a professional music album of original compositions in honor of the Earth, Indigenous Peoples, and love. While each of the hundreds of tribes across country have songs specific to their culture, the compositions for this project are intertribal with a positive message; appropriate for gatherings of Indigenous solidarity and human beings worldwide. GAP funds will primarily pay Itsa Shash and all contributing artists for their time into the project.