Bunny Sings Wolf
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Bunny Sings Wolf

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Jun
17
Bunny Sings Wolf @ Prairie Berry Bistro

Hill City, South Dakota, USA

Hill City, South Dakota, USA

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"As always, playing in the Historic Homestake Opera House (for the Gathering of Eagles benefit) was an awesome experience. Victor Mandan was in his element with his Native American-in-flected "feel good blues," and Paul Larson's cowboy music spoke both to the audience and ghosts of past audiences. The stage was already warmed up when the Mirage Dance Troupe turned up the heat. After that, it was all
Bunny Sings Wolf.

Bunny performs with a quiet charisma that I find impossible to describe. She owned the stage the moment she appeared to speak a few words, pick up a flute and begin to play, and then to pick up her guitar and sing. Her voice is rich with just a hint of breathiness, and is a force all its own. Her persona is pure peace with an underlying humor that caught the audience and led them to howl along on "Moon."

I picked up a copy of Bunny's "White Haired Sunrise,"to which I am listening as I write. Her interpretation of Kate Wolf's "Give Yourself to Love" is particularly compelling, and I was delighted to find Bunny's essentially rewritten version of Chris Voyles' "The Wind in My Hair."

Bunny's dream songs show a strong Lakota influence. In part, this comes through her use of flutes and drums and some Lakota language.  They are songs honoring spirit, self and the Earth, songs of liberation from things that aren't good for us. Songs of peace. Their wholesomeness is undeniable. Their beauty comes from her heart.

"White Haired Sunrise" and the rest of Bunny's CDs, including her new one, "St8newalker," are available through links at bunnysingswolf.com"

Rapid City Journals' Steve Thorpe Reported Friday, April 10, 2009 in anticipation of the above event:

"...Bunny Sings Wolf will be back in the Hills as headliner for the Gathering of Eagles Benefit
(www.sut-gatheringofeagles.org) at the Historic Homestake Opera House in Lead (www.leadoperahouse.org/events) from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday, April 24.

I first heard Bunny when she was busking the porch at the Alpine Inn in Hill City in the '90's. At the time, I thought "Sings Wolf" was a tribute tot Kate Wolf, though it turns out that connection was as fortuitous as it was apt. She was singing a number of Kate's songs, though as her gig at the Alpine progressed, she moved more into her original"dream songs," which woke her from sleep. If you want the whole story, check her out at www.bunnysingswolf.com and on MySpace.

Her music has grown over the years to include heartbeat drum and Native American flute, and she now characterizes it as "Lakota-inflective folk music." It's the same rich voice, the same rich sense of humor and an ever-increasing repertoire of songs that come from her heart, which has its home here in the Black Hills.

~ Like her life, her music tells a fascinating tale of a woman with a talent, a vision and a destiny that won't quite let go of her. ~

Also on the bill: Victor Mandan, Paul Larson, yours truly (Steve Thorpe) with Gary Stetler and the Mirage Dance Troupe performing "Earth Song", a tribute to Mother Earth. Mirage's Shelby McDill says,
"We support the gathering, which honors the elders and brings people from a many diverse backgrounds...together in sacred ways.  It's a good time to be with old friends, and meet new ones." The final shape of the show is still in flux at this writing, but it's looking like an amazing event. Donations will be taken at the door."
- Rapid City Journal - May 8, 2009


The National Buffalo Museum was among 34 recipients of Artist-in-Residence funding. This state-funded program is designed to give students an understanding of quality art and appreciation for cultural traditions by brings artists into the school. The artist then conducts workshops and classes that involve students and teachers in hand-on art experiences. A total of $52,053 was awarded during the last grant round.
The grant will help provide funds to the National Buffalo Museum for a residency with Black Hills Folk singer Bunny Sings Wolf. Sings Wolf will work with students at the Anne Carlsen Center for Children as well as the kindergarten classes in Jamestown from March 7-11, 2005. She hopes to stimulate in students an acute awareness of their own natural ability to
make music while learning to recognize the subtleties of high and low, long and short, fast and slow sounds, rhythms, identify the emotions that accompany these sounds, and to recognize how music puts people in relationship with each other and with the natural world all around them. Her other goal is to instill in students an appreciation of how the silences in between music notes
give sounds "color", depth, definition and impact, which helps to make
a truly memorable and dynamic performance. (italics added by Hillbunny Productions)
"Bunny came to Jamestown for a live performance in the Frontier Village amphitheater last summer for White Cloud's birthday celebration and Tatanka festival," said Felicia Sargeant, National Buffalo Museum director. "Bunny was well received for the festival so we wanted to bring her back to visit the schools as well as do another live performance. Hopefully this performance won't come under a
tornado/thunderstorm watch as her July performance did."
The North Dakota Council on the Arts is the state agency responsible for the support and development of the arts throughout North Dakota and is funded by the state Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.
More funding is needed to match the grant funds received from the Council on the arts. For more information on how to help to bring Bunny Sings Wolf to Jamestown, contact the National Buffalo Museum at 252-8648.
The deadline for the next round of Artist-in-Residence grants is April 1. For more information, contact the Council on the Arts at (701- 325-7593 or www.DiscoverND.com/arts.
- Jamestown Sun - March 2005


A homage to nature is on the cover and in the straight-forward folk music on Bunny Sings Wolf's newest album, "White Haired Sunrise"

Black Hills folk singer Bunny Sings Wolf ably fills the niche of local Earth Mother with unforgettable folk panache.

The Lakota-inflected folk songs of her new CD, "White Haired Sunrise," are marked both by their spiritual and social awareness and Sings Wolf's delicate vocal delivery.

On "White Haired Sunrise," her third CD, Sings Wolf's New Age theme is woven around acoustic guitar punctuated by wooden flute. Her delivery is uncluttered, and she seems perpetually at ease, even amid the gloom of the disc's opening song, "The End is Near," which begins: "When the mountain trembled and I held on tight/ And knew that hanging wouldn't save me/ Still I strengthened my grip, praying rather than hoping."

No matter the outlook of the song, spiritual well-being seems to be the focus, and the natural world informs the music. Her organic folk is well-suited to the simple, straightforward performances.
Sings Wolf, of Custer, Wyo., made her name busking around the Black Hills but more recently has worked her way into paid gigs. With "White Haired Sunrise," she captures the spirit of the Earth Mother, briefly, and sets it free to roam the Black Hills again.
- Rapid City Journal - June 6, 2003


 “Wana Wagle ee” (Lakota for “I’m back now”) – a Black Hills original - BUNNY SINGS WOLF – reports she is once again performing in the hills to begin her 2003 touring season at a concert, April 26, in Rapid City at The Journey Museum Theatre – where Spirit lives.
 With songs of peace and healing, accompanied with acoustic guitar and Native American flute, she will be joined on stage with “Lakota Children Fancy Dancers” in full regalia to perform at Bunny’s intermission. Meet the Artist at Wine Reception to follow. ---SEATING LIMITED---Only 200 tickets will be sold. Advance Tickets may be purchased at The Journey and Other Black Hills Locations - All Seats $12. Ticket locations and Info: www.geocities.com/dassbeat - Dassbeat Music: 605-745-4997 and at The Journey Museum http://www.journeymuseum.org/english/calendarofevents/ 605-394-6923.  
Bunny’s songs have been joyfully reverberating through the Black Hills for about 4 years now, since she began discovering the music that she explains started “happening” to her “in dreams” since moving back to her family’s home territory. For a biography, music clips and stories, lyrics, and photos she has taken of some special places in the Black Hills, visit her web site at www.bunnysingswolf.com.
Bunny’s long awaited third CD is NOW in the making, and it is hoped that “White Haired Sunrise” – based on the wisdom and peace inspired from a sunrise she experienced – will be released at this Journey Museum concert! If it is anything like her first two albums, this one promises to be spring breeze gentle with crisp, melodic Native American flute harmonies over Bunny’s river rapids powerful seasoned voice.
Since her last album was recorded Bunny has been gifted with 4 custom made flutes with White Buffalo “birds” (where the voice comes from, she explains). Bunny claims that the new flutes have transformed her solo acoustic performance to a “buffalo chorus”. She further muses that these flutes based on a design by Daniel Red Buffalo – circa 1930 – practically glow as they rest on her on stage flute rack waiting to be played.
 In her upcoming CD the buffalo flutes are used on practically all of her 13 original song tracks, as well as in harmonies with two much requested songs by the late Kate Wolf entitled “Give Yourself to Love” and “These Times We’re Living In.”
When asked why she lives in the hills when the majority of her paid music performances keep her traveling long distances to reach more populated areas, she explains:  "I live here in respect and honor of these beautiful and precious natural things that inspire and I hope are reflected in my music. I pray that this music will comfort the hearts of listeners who wonder how to cope with these difficult times in mankind’s history. What a marvelous journey – the world is changing, yet there is hope as long as there is music to heal our hearts. In my travels I meet so many thoughtful people who come to hear and value what this music represents, people who are willing to make the personal commitment to act in respectful and peaceful ways with each other, and all our relations. I am so grateful to be living in this time and to be able to have music to sing and share! So, for me this time in this place is like living in a wonderful dream because there is always hope where there is still the beauty of natural open spaces, and where there is still a song...”
- Country Register (South Dakota Statewide Journal)- April 2003


Local singing talent, Bunny Sings Wolf will soon be releasing her third CD entitled, White Haired Sunrise. Although she has been singing most of her life, Sings Wolf reentered the world of singing professionally three years ago.
Sings Wolf explained she came from generations of a musical/artistic family. Poetry and song were a natural part of her life. She and her family grew up in the rural farming country of Northern California.
"It was a slower time when people of all ages, of various cultures, enjoyed spending time together and sharing stories and experiences," commented Sings Wolf. Even as a child she wrote music. The family used to sing together on various trips they took.
"Later my sister, who now sings with the New Christy Minstrels, and I used to perform together in California where we grew up. We recorded music for commercials. When my sister joined a rock group I stopped singing and put my guitar down. I would sing off and on until three years ago when my husband and I moved to the Black Hills to Custer," explained Sings Wolf. She and her husband first lived in Hill City and Custer in 1987 - moved back to Boulder, Colorado where she maintained her pencil portrait art studio, then returned to the hills of Custer just three years ago.
It was in the Black Hills where she found her voice once again. Her first CD, Sacred Ground which she recorded with the help of David Allen from Keystone, South Dakota, is about her coming back to her music and rediscovering her song. (Buffalo Tales, her second CD was released just 6 months later, with songs about wide open spaces and respect for the land, it's creatures and the Creator).
Sings Wolf explained she often gets her inspiration for her songs in dreams and wakes up, and sings them into a recorder. The next morning she writes them out.
"The Black Hills gives me my inspiration. All the songs (of the 16 songs) on my latest CD are original (except for 4 by others). She said her music is soulful for this time to comfort hearts from the Heart of the Black HIlls. Most of the songs on this new CD, like her others, (Sacred Ground and Buffalo Tales), have haunting flute harmonies, some with a native drum (to accompany her acoustic guitar and thought provoking lyrics).
- Newsletter Journal - Custer, South Dakota - April 10, 2003


Event is designed to be informative, fun

Deborah Fuller plans on local residents taking home more than pamphlets of information from Yampatika's 2002 Earth Day..."This is another avenue for us to connect people to the landscape," said Fuller, executive director of Yampatika.
The event will include hands-on activities that will educate residents about a wide variety of environmental concerns such as chronic wasting disease, tree planting, recycling used computers, drought, air pollution, population, bears and water conservation.
"It gives us the opportunity to educate ore people," Fuller said.
She said not everybody knows all of the environmental issues present in the local area and hopes residents will take advantage of the local organization and professionals who will be available to answer questions and provide information...By increasing the communities awareness of current problems, organizers hope it will inspire residents to improve the quality of life in the local community by making environmentally friendly decisions...Bunny Sings Wolf will perform folk songs about the sacredness of Mother Earth.
The message of Wolf's singing emphasizes seeing the environment as an integrated part of daily life. Fuller said Wolf's folk songs embody the meaning of the 2002 Earth Day celebration through their appreciation of nature.
Considering the importance of the land and people's connectivity to it is something organizers hope to illustrate through their activities and information.
"Raising the level of awareness is what is taking place here," Fuller said...
Diann Pipher, public affairs specialist with the Forest Service... an excellent forum for people to discuss ways to strike a balance between their own values, sucha as protecting property from fire, and natural processes, such as wildland fires, she added.
That balance can be difficult in an age where lifestyles often clash with the message of Earth Day, Bunny Sings Wolf said.
Sings Wolf, a singer-songwriter from Custer, Wyo., entertained the crowd with folks songs and ballads about the sacredness of Mother Earth.
Her lyrics express an appreciation for the environment and people's connection to the earth. "We need to see the connectedness of all things," she said.
Life can become so busy that it gradually severs the connection people once felt with the land, Sings Wolf said.
One of her songs, "Two Worlds Clash," reflects the quandary people face in trying to reconcile their way of life with the natural world. Earth Day reminds people of the importance of rediscovering that connection, she said.
- Steamboat Pilot - Steamboat Springs, Colorado - April 21, 2002


Bunny Sings Wolf has been performing for tips at the Alpine Inn in Hill City for about a year now. During the summer season, she plays on the porch for tourists and locals alike. But all requests to buy a CD or tape of the music were met with a rueful negative - playing for tips only doesn't often yield the kind of money it takes to put out a CD.
"People used to come up and listen to me sing and they'd say: "I'd like to buy your CD' and I'd say "That's not going to happen with me singing on this porch for tips. The only way that's going to happen is if someone marches up on to this porch and says 'I want to record a CD for you.'"
"Well, one day I looked up and there stood this guy like he had been beamed down there and he said, 'Hi, Bunny Sings Wolf, my name is David Allen, and I'd like to record your first CD.' Pretty scary, huh?"
"He said he'd been listening to me sing from across the street - he works at Warrior's Work - for three months and was putting together his recording studio in his basement and when he got it done he wanted me to be his first customer," she said. The CD they recorded, Sacred Ground, was released this past fall.
Allen, a musician himself, helped with much more than just the recording of Sacred Ground. He helped write music for one of the songs, performed backing vocals and Lakota "vocables" on others and played back-up guitar, bass and flute on many. He even made special flutes for recording the CD, and his calling Bunny "Sings Wolf" also stuck. During the recording process this Indian name, so suited to Bunny on many levels, continues to remind her to send out her voice with the confidence of a well traveled, teaching and sharing wolf mother.
"David ended up making three or four flutes during the making of this CD, so we could have the right key for the songs," Sings Wolf said. "So we both put a lot of work in on this album." More Than a Mountain," the last song written for SACRED GROUND, is Sings Wolf 's personal favorite. The song, inspired by Crazy Horse Mountain, found its words in Sings Wolf and its melody in Allen. "I was feeling sad about the recording process coming to an end and I saw the sign - it says "Never Forget Your Dreams" - and I went up there and I got inspired," she said. "I went to the studio and said, 'David, we've got one more song." "I brought the words to the studio and he started playing, I started singing and I said, 'Quick, turn on the recorder."
It's more than a mountain
More than a sky More than an eagle flying by…
It's a rock that is speaking about True dreams
---from More Than a Mountain
Sings Wolf has been writing songs since she was a child. She and her sister were semi-professional performers in California where they grew up. They had cut an album and recorded music for many radio commercials. The act was so impressive that one of Ed Sullivan's talent scouts asked them to come and audition for the show after hearing one of the commercials on the radio. "But before we went she went and joined a rock group," Sings Wolf said. "That was when I put down my guitar." She played and performed only sporadically in the following years.
But when she and her husband moved back to the Black Hills, she told him she was going to pursue music seriously again. "Since we moved back to the Black Hills, I just couldn't contain my music anymore, it's coming out in waves now," she said. "This album is my coming back to my music, which is my sacred ground," Sings Wolf said. "The whole process of the CD revolves around my rediscovering my song."
Not all of the songs on Sacred Ground are from this latest burst of musical creativity, though. Sings Wolf wrote Black Hills Train in 1987, the first time she lived in the Black Hills. She and her husband lived in a cabin between Hill City and Custer and she could see the train tracks from her kitchen window. "One day I looked out and saw a big engine and I ran out and said, 'Are you going to start running trains down here again,' and he said, 'No, this is the last train to Custer before they tear out the tracks and put in a bike trail,"
There were no speeches Crowds or bands to mark its journeys end.
A few old timers drove their trucks
To follow their old friend
Some shed tears, some just looked on
To watch its passing, now it's gone
There was a time when all eyes watched
For that precious train's acomin'
It brought the cloth, the coal, the steel Frontier days of its running
The final train a trip too fast
But in these hills its spirit lasts
----from Black Hills Train
She wrote Wally's Song for Waldraut "Wally" Matush, the owner of the Alpine Inn. "She came here with basically nothing and she made something out of nothing," Sings Wolf said. "Opening up a restaurant in a city of 600 is a little bit crazy, but she's made a great business out of it." The song can also be applied to other Black Hills institutions that would seem to some to just be impossible dreams - like Crazy Hor - Panache Magazine Front Page Feature Article - February 2001


Discography

"Sacred Ground"
"Buffalo Tales"
"White Haired Sunrise"
"Prophecy Keeper"
"St8newalker"

Photos

Bio

"Bunny performs with a quiet charisma that I find impossible to describe. She owned the stage the moment she appeared to speak a few words, pick up a flute and begin to play, then to pick up her guitar and sing. Her voice is rich with just a hint of breathiness, and is a force all it's own. Her persona is pure peace with an underlying humor that caught the audience and led them to howl along on "Moon." Quote from May 8, 2009 - Black Hills Live, in Rapid City Journal review of Bunny's recent Historic Homestake Opera House concert.

In reoccurring childhood dreams Bunny saw streams of thousands of people from all ages and all walks of life from many cultures following her, dancing, laughing, singing along, all living in a world full of pristine forests, colorful flowers, good health, abundance, harmony, balance, peace as she played a wooden flute alongside her "imaginary" childhood friend (what she described then as a white elephant with fur, cute curved horns and no trunk). Beginning in 1999, dream songs began arriving (at 400 count now) with the dreams' insistence that these were the songs and times for the childhood visions to manifest.

Her first two CDs "Sacred Ground" followed by "Buffalo Tales" self produced in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota, were released in 2000, followed by "White Haired Sunrise" in 2003, and "Prophecy Keeper" in 2005. "St8newalker" released in May 2009 is the crowning gem of a well worked craft, gleaming the music to new realms of appreciation among audiences young and old, while the "imaginary" white buffalo dances happily alongside. Bunny's “band” is made up of acoustic guitar, Native American wooden flutes, and heartbeat drums hand-made and gifted to her by loyal fans who are wood carvers and artists. Utilizing these to create a truly calming, nurturing and precious sound. all her instruments have white buffalo "birds" and/or white buffalo painted designs on them which have manifested her childhood dream come true.