Photo courtesy of Mark Freed.
Types of Artistry
R. Eddie Bushyhead
Cherokee flutemaker, musician, language specialist
Cherokee, NC (Qualla Boundary)
Eddie Bushyhead is a musician who makes and plays the rivercane flute, a traditional instrument among the Cherokee. He entertains large and small audiences of all ages with traditional flute music and contemporary "Rez Music". Eddie Bushyhead can also speak about the Cherokee language and about language preservation efforts in the Cherokee community.
Eddie Bushyhead was born in Cherokee, and grew up in the Birdtown and Piney Grove communities. After graduating from Cherokee High School, he studied music at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, specializing in ethno-musicology. A versatile musician, Eddie Bushyhead has played music all his life, from Cherokee hymns to rock and roll to blues. In 1987, he began research on the rivercane flute and recreated one based on his studies.
Eddie Bushyhead has performed all over the United States and recently impressed audiences in Beijing, China. He is a showcased artist in the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, and he frequently performs for the Young Audiences organization in Atlanta. A fine composer, he has written music for the PBS Parabola series, for a documentary film for Rhinehart College, and for the Good Moves dance theater in Atlanta. His recordings include Who Says and Rez-Music, as well as the Ani-sahoni (Blue Clan) project, based on tunes he collected from Cherokee elders on the Qualla Boundary. Eddie Bushyhead worked with his father, Cherokee elder Robert Bushyhead, and sister, Jean Bushyhead, on the Cherokee language preservation project. He has taught language classes in the local Kituhwa dialect for the Qualla Boundary school system. At present he works at the Oconaluftee Indian Village.
Bushyhead can teach workshops on making and playing the rivercane flute as well as classes on Cherokee language. He can perform for small and large groups. He works with audiences of ages and is willing to travel anywhere. His fee is negotiable and must include compensation for travel expenses.