Among the people of the Lakota tribe, there is a great deal of ceremonial practice. Community gatherings have always been an important focal point of the indigenous culture. It was at one such inipi, or sweat lodge ceremony, that music producers Pathwey and Iyakuh first met the Lakota singer, Mahto Akicita. The trio soon struck up a friendship, and shortly after, began to record music together.
However, tragedy struck soon after the recording of the track “Beautiful Ways,” with Akicita’s passing. A loving son and devoted member of his community, he had a vision of inspiring young Native Americans to continue celebrating traditional ceremony and prayer. The intention of Akicita’s music and prayers was to bring the ways of the Lakota back into the minds and hearts of the youth–and the people of the world.
The word wokiksuye means “remembrance” or “the act of remembering.” After Akicita’s passing, his mother Unci Maka and stepfather A’te picked up where he left off, contributing on three more songs to complete the four-track project. His tiwahe (family) hopes to continue his work, and as he touched countless spirits in his time on earth, that they may continue to honor his memory and mission through his music.
Each song on the project is a prayer that was recorded concurrently with deep ceremonial practice. Together with deep flowing basses and gently soaring synthesizer lines, the sounds of nature and traditional instruments provide an elegant backdrop for the focal point of the project–the Lakota words and prayers. Powerful and poignant, the music fuses the ancient and modern worlds gracefully and amplifies the voice of Akicita and his tiwahe as they pray for their people and the peoples of the world.
The project is available for digital purchase on Bandcamp. CD copies are also available, which includes 12 pages of Lakota prayers and their translations. All of the proceeds will go to Akicita’s family.