Nahko and Medicine for the People bringing positive message to Tahoe
CRYSTAL BAY, Nev. — Some musicians are simply entertainers. Swaggering and cocksure, some are driven to conquer the charts with poppy hooks and catchy lyrics; fueled to fill arenas and headline music festivals.
And then there are musicians who operate on a more subtle, but equally as resonant, wavelength. Spilling insightful and inspirational songs, they strive to create something much bigger than music — social change.
Nahko and Medicine for the People is a collection of such artists.
“For us, music is a tool to create healing and activate people to change things,” frontman Nahko Bear said in the band’s online biography. “I think our music promotes the bridging of all tribes. The lyrics and the stories and our energy as a group break down people’s walls. You’ll find us in the most unique places on earth because it’s real, raw, and honest storytelling about what we’ve been through and what we believe in.
“And that’s why people connect with it. I think that’s the most important thing you can do with music.”
The next unique place one can find Nahko and Medicine for the People is North Lake Tahoe. Spreading a message of harmony and positivity, the five-piece world music outfit will unspool their raw stories Saturday inside the Crystal Bay Casino Crown Room.
“Music that is socially conscious is always, at least for me, a bit more engaging,” CBC manager Bill Wood said. “If there’s a message that’s being sent, even if I don’t really appreciate that message, it at least gives me the feeling that the artist is attempting to do something with their craft. And I think that’s always important.
“I think that’s always better than the old bubble gum, chewy-chewy type of music that finds its way onto the radio sometimes.”
Even though finding Nahko and Medicine for the People on the dial is unlikely, their acoustic-driven folk songs have cut through to a bevy of individuals cut from the same cloth. People hungry for harmony in more ways than one.
“They played here last year,” Wood said. “It was a sellout.”
Nahko Bear, an Oregon-native who was born a mix of Apache, Puerto Rican, and Filipino cultures, has said in interviews that the band’s integrity has enabled them to share their music and message with larger audiences.
“If it’s in your destiny to break through the veil to a larger community,” Bear told the Huffington Post, “you have to have a purpose and you have to be unique. We don’t see a lot of that anymore.”
Nahko and Medicine for the People — which also includes Justin Chittams (drums), Chase Makai (lead guitar), Hope Medford (percussions and rhythms) and Patricio Zuñiga (bass) — have been fine tuning their purpose for seven years. A span in which the group has independently released two albums: “On the Verge” (2010) and “Dark as Night” (2013), which reached No. 4 on the Billboard Top Alternative Albums chart.
For Nahko Bear, though, climbing charts is a trivial feat. He measures his success by how people respond and react to his music.
“It’s a huge reminder to keep letting truth move through me so that it can help others be real with themselves,” Bear told the Huffington Post. “And I would hope that we remember that music can be real like this.”
Read more about Nahko and Medicine for the People at nahko.com.