Nahko (full name Nahkohe Parayno) is a sixth generation Apache/Mohawk with a Puerto Rican/Indian mother and a Filipino father. He was adopted into an American family and raised in an Oregon suburb, where he suffered an identity crisis from an early age. At six years old, Nahko took up the piano and the universal language of music became the healing force in his life. Since then, he has set out to “bridge the cultural gaps dividing his own psyche and began producing a public, musical journal of his journey toward personal, spiritual and communal healing” (www.nahko.com).
Nahko’s unifying sound resonates with people around the world. Whether through his solo performances or with his backing group Medicine for the People, Nahko can regularly be found touring every corner of Earth. His “spirited redemption music” delivers powerfully heavy lyrics, enveloped harmoniously with humor and a storytelling ability not found in many others. His message is carried by “agile melodies and driving rhythms that coerce all who bear witness into spirited, purifying movement.”
The first album Dark as Night was released in 2013. His transcendent, multicultural sound is exemplified in the opening track ‘Aloha Ke Akua’ where he sings:
Bodies of info performing such miracles.
I am a miracle made up of particles
and in this existence,
I’ll stay persistent,
and I’ll make a difference
and I will have lived it.
The sophomore album On the Verge was released in early 2014. This dose of purifying medicine progresses Nahko’s mission to motivate and inspire his listeners (known as ‘the Tribe’) to spread awareness and become the change. In the track ‘Manifesto,’ Nahko empowers the Tribe with:
Be of service, be a sensible person.
Use your words and don’t be nervous.
You can do this, you’ve got purpose.
Find your medicine and use it.
Although his message and personal anecdotes go much deeper than what I’ve highlighted here, the only way to experience the depth and raw honesty is to listen for yourself. Don’t be surprised when the goosebumps appear!