Kevin Locke

Kevin Locke


Among American Indian artists of North America, none is more famous than Kevin Locke, a Lakota dancer and indigenous flute player. Reared on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, Kevin has since traveled to over 80 countries, bringing his inspiring message to diverse audiences & ages.


Kevin Locke (Tokaheya Inajin is his Lakota name, meaning "The First to Arise") is known throughout the world as a visionary Hoop Dancer, the preeminent player of the indigenous Northern Plains flute, a traditional storyteller, cultural ambassador, recording artists and educator. While his early instructions were received from his immediate family and community, from his extended family in every part of the world Kevin has learned many lessons in global citizenship and how we each can draw from our individual heritages to create a vibrant, evolving global civilization embracing and celebrating our collective heritage.

Kevin Locke's concerts and presentations at performing arts centers, festivals, schools, universities, conferences, state and national parks, monuments and historic sites, powwows and reservations number in the hundreds annually. Approximately eighty percent of his presentations are shared with children. He is a dance and musical hero and role model for youth around the world. His special joy is working with children on the reservations to ensure the survival and growth of indigenous culture.

Kevin Locke is acknowledged to be the pivotal force in the now powerful revival of the indigenous flute tradition, which teetered on the brink of extinction in the latter half of the 20th century. Kevin was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), which recognized him as a "Master Traditional Artist who has contributed to the shaping of our artistic traditions and to preserving the cultural diversity of the United States."

As a folk artist he is often characterized as being from a tribal-specific background only. But Kevin draws from deep wellsprings of knowledge, distilled and refined over many generations, yielding a profound sense of the universality of the human spirit and its inclination toward harmony, balance, beauty, peace, and the sacred. Through movement and dance, sound and music, Kevin conveys this universal spirit through his stories, music, humor, and dance, both in performance and workshop/lecture settings.


Hand Games

Written By: Kevin Locke

Played throughout North America, this game is similar to “button-button, who’s got the button?” It’s played between two rival teams. The hiding team is on the offensive, can score points, and sings. There are thousands of these short rhythmic songs sun to a syncopated beat. These games are often played in conjunction with major ceremonies when great numbers of people gather from long distances. In such instances the games can take on mystical overtones with the interplay between offensive and defensive teams, and can represent the crises and victories that all must face on the road of life. “’Even or odd, thou shall win the wager.’ The friends of God shall win and profit under all conditions, and shall attain true wealth. In fire they remain cool and from water they emerge dry. Gain is their lot, whatever the deal.” (a quote from Baha’u’llah in Crisis and Victory, page 154).

It’s Hard to be an Indian

Written By: Kevin Locke

This is said to be one of the original “Omaha Okolakiciye TolowaN,” or “Songs of the Omaha Society,” an organization learned from the Omaha Nation and adopted by the Lakota sometime in the 1860’s. The Omaha Society could be described as a “millennial movement” in that it, like other millennial movements sweeping the globe,, aimed at revitalizing the spiritual foundations of society and preparing the people for greater millennial expectations. The original songs were composed to awaken noble attributes: love, generosity, valor, magnanimity, and above all, service.


Coming soon:
Oceti Sakowin: Seven Fires
Kevin Locke's newest CD

The First Flute, Makoché Records, 1999
"Best Traditional Recording" 1999 Native American Music Awards
Recorded outdoors at Sitting Bull's camp on the Standing Rock Lakota Reservation in South Dakota, this album has been described as “the ultimate presentation of American Indian flute, heard as it first was among the birds, wind, and waters of the Dakotas."

Dream Catcher
"The songs in this collection are from three magnificent Indian nations: the Lakota, Dakota and Meskwaki. They have been generously shared with me in a spirit of unity and love, perhaps in a natural acknowledgement of the dawning of the long-awaited day of a new efflorescence for native peoples, a day in which the spiritual destiny of American Indians will be fulfilled.” - Kevin Locke

Keepers of the Dream, Earthbeat!/Warner Bros. Records, 1994
part two of the Dream Catcher series
Blended with natural sounds of the wild Northern Plains, this soothing collection of solo flute songs and chants of the Lakota transports listeners to the actual region from which these enduring melodies and living traditions arise. A rich and uninterrupted soundscape echoes a spiritual journey and the People's renewal. Includes an inspiring women's song by Sissy Goodhouse.

Open Circle, Makoché Records, 1996
Ancient flute songs of universal human experience, honoring our essential unity. These authentic songs of the Northern Plains are enriched with a rhythmic, all-acoustic blend of indigenous instruments from around the world (didgeridoo from Australia, a triple-chambered ocarina from Central America, the berimbau from Brazil, drums from North America, Africa and the Caribbean) and extraordinary nature sounds from the Plains of North and South Dakota. CD includes illustrated, full-color, 16-page booklet.
The Flash of the Mirror, Makoché Records
This is a proud and powerful collection of solo flute pieces performed by Kevin, the world's preeminent Lakota traditional style flute player. These songs are offered in honor of the springtime with its beautiful, fresh, new world of light and warmth, movement and sound, color and fragrance. The Flash of the Mirror contains many selections learned from Everett Kapayou, an elder of the Meskwaki settlement in central Iowa, who devoted himself to upholding the honor, dignity and sacred tradition of his proud people.

Midnight Strong Heart
"This collection of traditional and new compositions with contemporary instrumentation, embodies the evolving lessons of good citizenship that embrace and celebrate our individual and collective heritages alike.” Kevin Locke

Flute Planet – Songs and prayers from the Top of the World
Recorded in Nepal. Flute Planet features 11 tracks from three international flutists: Kevin Locke from the Lakota Nation, Manose Singh from Nepal, and Pam Whitman from the United States. Kevin plays on nine tracks, including two tracks featuring flute and spoken word. Flute Planet gives us several traditional European songs with the sound of the indigenous Northern Plains flute, including "Amazing Grace" and "23rd Psalm", which Mr. Locke recites with flute in the background.

Hoop of Life… Lakota Stories of the Nobility of the Human Spirit
Four ancient stories and one personal narrative are used by Kevin Locke to embrace the interconnectedness of all the earth’s people, each part of the one ‘human tribe’. Although these Native American stories were first received through his Lakota elders, in Kevin Locke’s care they become universal prayers for global unity, acceptance of cultural diversity, and peace. The inspired sound of his flute playing, Lakota songs, as well as additional narrative spoken in the Lakota language, beautifully complement the storytelling on this innovative recording.

Set List

Varies according to audience/venue etc.