The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday December 3rd

Singing group to draw on Native American heritage

Four voices, one goal — to increase awareness of and preserve Native American culture.

A subgroup of the Carolina Indian Circle, Unheard Voices is an all-female a cappella group that performs traditional Native American music to increase appreciation of American Indian culture.

In their first spring concert, three of the four members of Unheard Voices will perform in the Union Cabaret at 8 p.m. tonight. Admission is free.



Time: 8 p.m. today
Location: Student Union Cabaret

Senior Meredith McCoy, of Chippewa descent, has been performing with Unheard Voices since her freshman year. She said the group will perform seven songs written by two Native American singing groups.

Unheard Voices began in the 1970s as a spoken word group, but has evolved over the years into a singing group.

The women have performed around campus at different events all year, but this is their first time to host a concert.

Freshman member Candice Locklear, of the Lumbee tribe, said the group provides her a chance to learn more about her culture and expand her singing experience.

“Learning to sing this type of music was a challenge, but it was worth it because now I have an easy and entertaining way to share my Native heritage,” she said.

The music is sung in different tribal languages, and occasionally the group plays with two Native American instruments.

The first is a hand drum, which is covered in animal skin and played with a mallet. They also use a rattle made from a piece of wood and dried seed pods to create a sound akin to a maraca.

The vocals are mostly sung in unison, but there are some harmonic verses.

In the past, Unheard Voices has shied away from doing a concert because its members were not sure how large their draw would be, but these young women are taking a leap of faith. They are hoping for a turnout of 50 people for their first show.

Freshman Kathryn Gregory, of the Lumbee and Nanticoke tribes, will be performing along with McCoy and Locklear.

At tonight’s performance, the group will sing works by Ulali and Sweet Water Women. McCoy said the singers in Sweet Water Women, an


group from Canada, and Ulali have been especially important influences for Unheard Voices.

Group members said they are excited to share their voices and heritage at the upcoming concert.

“My hope for the concert is that people come out and learn about something that they have never heard of before. It is part of our identity and we want to share it with the UNC community,” McCoy said.


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