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NOVEMBER 6, 1999

Arigon & Her Stratocaster


Arigon Starr and company were in the house on Saturday, November 6, 1999 for the Native American Music Awards. To everyone's glee, MEET THE DIVA was awarded a "Nammy" for BEST INDEPENDENT RECORDING.

"What a total rush it was to perform live in front of 2,000 screaming Native music fans," said Arigon. The event at Popejoy Hall was a complete sell-out -- with over 200 fans turned away. "This was definitely the place for us to be!"

Arigon and her band met up with many of their old friends -- like Lorie Lee of KTNN, Joanne Shenandoah, Wayquay, Don Herron, Earthsong's Gregg McVicar, Wes Studi and Brian Wright-McLoud. They also made plenty of new friends like Primeaux & Mike, Jim Boyd, Joe Bello...and the list is really too long! Nick's sisters, Mara & Margot Peters were there, plus Arigon & Gay's parents Ken & Ruth Wahpecome. Band manager Janet Miner's mom Nancy Davis attended, along with longtime family friends Janet & Pam Holmberg.

A Bevvy of Beauties"I thought I was gonna die when BR5-49's Donnie Herron played my guitar backstage," sighed the Diva. I was asking the professor about a certain guitar in...what's the name of that durn thang? It was a diminished chord, by the way..." she smiled. "The Lynns told us what great job we did onstage," said Gay. "John Densmore (of The Doors fame) stopped me at the after-party to tell me how much he dug our performance," said Johnny B. "I wish I had had a camera!"

Organizers Ellen Bello and Sky Hunter put on one of the best shows Indian Country has seen in a long, long time. Some of the many highlights were Primeaux & Mike's stirring Peyote songs, The Diva, of course -- plus the tribute to Hank Williams. "Hank Williams III is cool -- he'll make you forget all about Bocephus...AAAY," teased the Diva.

There were so many different personalities backstage -- but I can tell you people were on their best behaviour and didn't seem to lose sight as to the purpose of being there," said Arigon. "It was great to meet so many of the volunteers and fans backstage and at the after-party, too. What great people. I really appreciated their hard work."

The above picture also comes to Starrwatcher Online from photographer Lee Hyeoma. Pictured are Michelle, Wayquay, Miss Indian World, Arigon and Gay.

Kim Hall & ArigonAs the band waited to go onstage, they have fun checking out some of the other acts, plus talking to some of the elders who had come as part of the drum group. Natay and his posse of back-up singers went through their routine; they visited with San Diego co-hort Eric Runningpath; they also did a little rehearsing on their own. After picking up the prize, Arigon and the band were interviewed for the upcoming Nammy video. The same room also housed the alligator trucked in for Chief Jim Billie's performance. "One of the wranglers was actually sitting on the poor Gator...I heard later that the gator actually pee'd onstage," laughed Arigon.

Arigon was thrilled to meet reporter Kimberlie Hall in person. Kim writes for "News From Indian Country," based in northern Wisconsin. Kim and "Indian Country Today's" Kevin Peniska presented Arigon with the award. "We missed seeing Kim at Milwaukee Indian Summerfest, so it was neat to finally meet her in person." Here's a fun photo gallery with a full-on who's who and what's what! AAAY!


Biding Their Time Here is the band relaxing backstage. And you thought backstage was all about bon-bons, chicken wings and groupies. Well, you were right about the Groupies...AAAAAY!
Backstage Line Up Here's Johnny B, Arigon, Gay and Nick prior to hitting the stage. There was a LOT of activity back there with presenters Rita & Priscilla Coolidge, Star Nayea, Rodney Grant and many, many more.
Shelton & the Band As promised, here are couple of pictures of Hank Williams III onstage -- featuring Don Herron on fiddle.
More of Shelton! Arigon actually took these pictures from the second row. A lot of people stood up, clapped....and generally enjoyed Hank's performance. He played some good Hillbilly music.
Jim Boyd & Arigon The after party at the Radisson Hotel was crammed full of celebrities, well-wishers, Indian folks, family and more. Here's Arigon with Jim Boyd. Jim, as you know, accepted the award for the "Smoke Signals" soundtrack. He also joined Tom Bee onstage as part of the XIT reunion. A mega-talented guy!
Band with Award The band gathers to pose for pictures with "The Award." Again, there were SO many people backstage, it was hard to find a place for photos!
Arigon, Janet & The Award Here's Arigon with band manager and CEO of Wacky Productions Unlimited, Janet Miner. Janet has been working tirelessly to get the word out about Arigon and her music. We couldn't get her to let go of the award...AAAAY!
Meet the Press! The band faced the press backstage. A lot of photos were taken and questions asked. "It was a 'Hard Day's Night' moment," said Arigon. "There were a ba-jillion flash bulbs....and we didn't even get a Jam Buttie." If you're a Beatles' fan, you'll know exactly what she's talking about.
Arigon & Ellen Bello Arigon cheeses out for the cameras with NAMA founder Ellen Bello. "Ellen worked so hard and was so good to us," said Arigon. The after-party wound on until the WEE hours.
Primeaux, Mike & Arigon The following day, Arigon and family headed to the Albuquerque Int'l Airport to return home. They ran into Primeaux & Mike (and family) before taking off.

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