Nahko - My Name is Bear

Saturn Presents:

Nahko - My Name is Bear


Mon, March 12, 2018

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm


Birmingham, AL


This event is 18 and over

Nahko - My Name is Bear
Nahko - My Name is Bear
It sounds like the logline for a classic sixties film…
An Oregon native leaves home at 18, follows love from Alaska to Louisiana only to learn about
heartbreak the hard way, meets his birth mother for the first time, eventually settles in Hawaii,
and launches a successful band. It isn’t the fulfillment of some loose end in Easy Rider or Five
Easy Pieces though. It’s the origin story of Nahko captured on his 2017 solo offering, My Name
Is Bear [Side One Dummy]. The album predates his rise to mythos among diehard fans in
Nahko and Medicine for the People, and it’s an important piece of the puzzle that is Nahko.
Collecting music he penned between the pivotal ages of 18 and 21, the musical maverick
appropriately describes the 16-track journey as “a prequel.”
“It’s the first chapter,” he elaborates. “I leave home at the beginning. On the back end, I meet
my birth mother at 21, everything changes, and the Medicine for the People catalog begins. It
was about coming of age and shedding that skin. When you’re on your own, those are the first
steps to freedom. You have to take care of yourself and survive in a world with the tools you
have. For me, those tools were my guitar, my songwriting, and my thumb to hitchhike. 95% of
the tracks were written during or about psychedelic trips. There’s a tinge of real mystical
revelation as I went from Alaska to Hawaii. I became open to other spiritual texts, and they
transformed me. I was on the road, in love, and everything was amazing, but I kept asking
myself, ‘What the fuck does this all mean?’”
My Name Is Bear might incite some of the same questions. Artfully merging rustic acoustic
guitars, upbeat energy, tribal flavors, fiery percussion, and ponderous lyrics, these recordings
reflect the soul and spirit fans have come to know and love from his work in Medicine for the
People, while venturing into decidedly more “rocking” and “personal” territory, as he puts it.
Along the way, he realized who he was.
“I came from a broken indigenous home, but I was raised in a beautiful, privileged white home
by my adoptive parents,” he says. “It was pretty confusing as I began to come of age because I
knew I didn’t come from that household, but somehow through my music I was able to garner
the attention of many young people going through the same thing and coming to a similar
conclusion. My music did not define me at 18-21 the way it does now. It was my comfort zone. I
turned to it to get me through all of the transitions. I had no definition of life at the time. Music is
my language, that is certain. It is my way to get in, out, over, and under. It’s my bridge. I can
connect with people and many other things with it.”
Strengthening that connection, Nahko introduces this collection with the lead-off and first single
“Dragonfly.” Fingerpicked acoustic guitar builds into an unshakable melody punctuated by an
African-style beat and chirping birds as he carries the chant, “To my former dragonfly, I resist
and I survive.” The companion video, starring Nahko’s friend Paris Jackson, brings the narrative
to life vividly.
“I wrote that at 18,” he recalls. “It’s a special one about following my heart in relation to a first
love. I was very enamored with her. We met in Alaska, and she had a similar story to my birth

mother. I followed her to Louisiana by way of a very long road trip. We spent four months in a
house in the Deep South hanging out. It came from surviving that first year away from home. It
was a special piece for me.”
He pays homage to the influence of Ram Dass’s Be Here Now with the swaggering electric
guitar, groovy bass, and bright horns of “Be Here Now”—originally penned upon his arrival in
Hawaii. The gorgeous conclusion “Die Like Dinoz” nods to his experience in a Hawaiian
treehouse at the base of a volcano as it compares two lost dinosaurs to lovers who lose their
As much as My Name Is Bear serves as a prequel to Medicine for the People, it can certainly be
construed as the foundation for meeting his mom as well. To rewind even further, Nahko’s birth
mom gave him up for adoption as she was just 15-years- old. She would be thrust into
unthinkable circumstances but managed to send letters and photos until he turned five. At 17,
his parents handed over the correspondence. In 2007 following his return to Portland from
Hawaii, he Googled her name on August 6. Turns out, his birth mother lived 15 minutes away.
“I drove there and, there she was, my mom,” he continues. “My two sisters, their kids, my two
brothers…everyone. Mom was crying. I was crying. The first thing she asked was ‘What do you
do?’ I shrugged and said, ‘I play music.’ It literally happened like that—all by divine intervention.
I picked up, left Hawaii, and came home to not so randomly discover my mom lived basically
down the street from where I grew up.”
Consequentially, this transpired towards the end of the period chronicled on My Name Is Bear.
He penned “Early February” about it.
“It’s the only song that has anything to do with my birth mother or my family,” he says. “It’s
about identity. That link ties to my other records, because they’re full of stories. My Name Is
Bear celebrates becoming a man.”
Finger-snaps set the stage for a delicate and heartwarming narrative about the birth of his
brother’s first child on “Call Him By His Name.” Strings underscore the emotional heft of the
soulful ballad “Susanna,” which relays the journey from home towards love. Meanwhile, the
shimmering piano of “Alice” echoes with lively and lush melodies.
During 2016, Nahko began combing his catalog for choice tunes from that crucial period. In the
midst of that process, he uncovered a box of tapes where he audio journaled his travels. Those
comprise the four “Interludes.”
“This was long before Notes on the iPhone,” he laughs. “I would literally record a daily log on a
RadioShack tape recorder. It’s a time capsule through California, my first Burning Man, busking
from Portland to Maine, and picking up hitchhikers. The tapes couldn’t have been more perfect
for the album.”
In the title, he also subconsciously embraces his given moniker Nahko, which means “bear.”
“I reclaimed the name at this time,” he goes on. “I was going by my adopted name of David until
I got to Hawaii and a friend encouraged me to go by Nahko. It’s a statement to myself. I’m no
longer a little bear. I’ve reached a place where I’ve progressed through this journey of music. I
can share these songs from a very specific period today.”
At the end of the day, this prequel sets the stage for a whole lot more from Nahko though.

“To be honest, I decided to make this last year as the world was changing,” he leaves off. “I
know I could go deep on Medicine for the People, but I had to go back in time for myself, clean
out the closet a little bit, and give listeners something that feels good, but makes them think. I
hope in making them feel good for an hour; it makes them feel better. That’s how I feel.”
The Late Ones
The Late Ones
Based out of Laie, Hawaii, brothers Tui Avei (Lead vocals), and Tau Avei (Vocals), along with cousin Josh Brunson (Vocals) are the voices. Built on a roots reggae foundation with influences from various genres like Hip-hop, R&B, and jazz, The Late Ones’ unique blend of style, and harmony shapes a youthful, yet old school reggae vibe.

Born in Gardena, California, The Late Ones harness something undeniably special. Rooted in Samoan culture, and complimented by the group’s African American heritage, the familial bond between the three members transcends throughout the group’s conscious lyrics and catchy melodies.

The name “The Late Ones” pays tribute to all of the late and great revolutionaries who have come and gone like Bob Marley, Tupac, Jimi Hendrix, Steve Biko, John Lennon and also present day legendsincluding Jurassic 5, Steel Pulse, Kendrick Lamar and Ab-Soul just to name a few. It is the fusion of each revolutionary story, struggle, and message that inspires and resonates with The Late Ones' own story, struggle, and love for all genres of music. That is the “L81Z” sound.

In late 2014, The Late Ones recorded their debut EP at Sea Major Seven Studio in Honolulu, HI with Producer/Engineer Noah Cronin (Sammy J) and producers Lapana Ieriko and Klandon Fetaui. The Late Ones debut EP Revelate was released on May 5, 2015 via online digital outlets and peaked at number three on the iTunes reggae charts in the first week of the release.

The Late Ones bring a youthful presence to the reggae community. With Revelate, the band hopes to push their music and message beyond their tight knit homeland of Hawaii. The EP holds six original compositions created by a group with great potential and high expectations.

Vocals / Tau Avei

Lead Vocals / Tui Avei

Vocals / Josh Brunson
Earth Guardians’ Youth Director Xiuhtezcatl (pronounced ‘Shoe-Tez-Caht’) Martinez, is a 17-year-old indigenous climate activist, hip-hop artist, and powerful voice on the front lines of a global youth-led environmental movement. At the early age of six Xiuhtezcatl began speaking around the world, from the United Nations Summit in Rio de Janeiro, to addressing the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York. He has worked locally to get pesticides out of parks, coal ash contained, and moratoriums on fracking in his state, and is currently a plaintiff in a youth-led lawsuit against the federal government for their failure to protect the atmosphere for future generations.
Xiuhtezcatl has traveled across the nation and to many parts of the world educating his generation about the state of the planet they are inheriting and inspiring youth into action to protect the Earth. His message has inspired youth to join the front lines combating the environmental and climate crisis’s, as well as form Earth Guardian crews in over 30 countries. His work has been featured on PBS, Showtime, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, Upworthy, The Guardian, Vogue, Real Time with Bill Maher, The Daily Show, CNN, MSNBC, HBO, VICE, and more.
In 2013, Xiuhtezcatl received the 2013 United States Community Service Award from President Obama, and was the youngest of 24 national change-makers chosen to serve on the President’s youth council.
He is the 2015 recipient of the Peace First Prize, recipient of the 2015 Nickelodeon Halo Award, 2016 Captain Planet Award, the 2016 Children’s Climate Prize in Sweden and 2017 Univision Premio’s Ajente de Cambio Award.
Bill Mckibben of calls Xiuhtezcatl “an impressive spokesman for a viewpoint the world needs to hear.”
Venue Information:
200 41st Street S
Birmingham, AL, 35222