Saturday: Jake Blount & Mali Obumsawin



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About Jake Blount & Mali Obumsawin

Jake Blount and Mali Obomsawin are two award winning performing artists who have joined forces on their upcoming Smithsonian Folkways release, symbiont (2024). Blount, (pronounced: blunt) is a renowned interpreter of Black folk music recognized for his skill as a string band musician, and his unprecedented Afrofuturist work in sound archives and song collections. In his hands, the banjo, fiddle, electric guitar and synthesizer become ceremonial objects used to channel the insurgent creativity of his forebears. Obomsawin (Odanak First Nation) is a celebrated composer and bassist-vocalist in free jazz and experimental music. Known for her evocative and ground-breaking debut Sweet Tooth (2022), Mali’s work as a composer and bandleader centers on the imprint of Indigenous music traditions in jazz and “American” genres, using historical, archival, and community research as a spine for improvisation. Obomsawin’s shoegaze project with guitarist Magdalena Abrego “Deerlady” also released music in early 2024 and has quickly won over young punks and sadgirls across Indian Country— cinching Mali’s reputation as an artist uncontainable by genre.

On symbiont, Obomsawin’s and Blount’s “genrequeer” approach to their respective traditions has earned a place in some of the very same archives from which they extract their repertoire. In defiance of genre categories, revisionist histories and linear time, Blount and Obomsawin have fashioned an Indigenous and Afrofuturist folklore that disintegrates the boundaries between acoustic and electric, artist and medium, and ancestor and progeny.

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