Music of Alaska: Wikis


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Music of the United States
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The Music of Alaska is a broad artistic field incorporating many cultures.


History and overview

Alaska's original music belongs to the Inupiaq, Aleut, Tlingit, and other Alaska Native communities. Russian, English and Irish immigrants brought their own varieties of folk music. Alaska was home to some of the United State's renowned performers, such as the folky singer Jewel. Traditional Aleut flautist Mary Youngblood, folk singer-songwriter Libby Roderick and the traditional performing group Pamyua also identify as Alaskan. Alaska also has a prominent metal and rock scene. Metalcore band 36 Crazyfists originated in Alaska, as did indie rock bands Portugal. The Man, and The Wagner Logic.

Anchorage has been able to see more of Alaska native, Melissa Mitchell, recently after returning from a stint in California where she has been doing work with the Arts in Arts in Corrections program in Folsom Prison that included a live concert with Michael Franti on November 23, 2005. Other local artists that have been involved with the program are Corinna Delgado, Shawn Zuke and Buddy Tabor.

State song

Alaska's Flag Written by Marie Drake Composed by Elinor Dusenbury

Eight stars of gold on a field of blue - Alaska's flag. May it mean to you The blue of the sea, the evening sky, The mountain lakes, and the flow'rs nearby; The gold of the early sourdough's dreams, The precious gold of the hills and streams; The brilliant stars in the northern sky, The "Bear" - the "Dipper" - and, shining high, The great North Star with its steady light, Over land and sea a beacon bright. Alaska's flag - to Alaskans dear, The simple flag of a last frontier.

Music festivals and ensembles


The Alaska Folk Festival, held every April in Juneau is among the state's most well-attended music festivals. The Fairbanks Folk Fest [1] annual "Summer and Winter Music Fests" and the Anchorage Folk Festival are also well-known in their areas. The Athabascan Old-Time Fiddling Festival, also held in Fairbanks (since 1983) is described "a testament to the far-reaching appeal of traditional music" in the Country Music Lover's Guide to the U.S.A.; the festival features Athabascan and Inuit fiddlers.[1]


The most prominent symphony in Alaska is the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra. The Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra has served the Interior since 1958, and its traveling arm, the Arctic Chamber Orchestra, regularly tours rural Alaska, as well as occasional international trips. The Juneau Symphony is another notable institution which was founded in 1962.

Alaska also is home to a notable chamber music festival in the Sitka Summer Music Festival which attracts chamber musicians from around the globe, as well as the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival.


The Anchorage Opera is currently the state's only professional opera company, however there are several volunteer and semi-professional organizations in the state as well. The Juneau Lyric Opera, a volunteer company, was founded in 1974 and presents concerts, choral workshops, and fully-staged opera in Juneau and Southeast Alaska.


The Anchorage community organizes several festival shows each summer, usually at Cuddy Family Park's small amphitheater. The festivals typically feature performances by local punk, rock, and metal bands, although groups specializing in other genres such as rockabilly and noise have also made appearances. The shows are loosely organized and community driven. Non-musical attractions have included circus acts, auctions, barbecues, and bike sports. Festivals are typically given a unique nickname, rather than sharing a common title (e.g. "Anchorage Festival of Unpopular Music" or "Bunk Rock Picnic").

Anchorage is home to several over 21 and all ages venues including Chilkoot Charlie's, The Downstairs, The Player's House Of Rock, and The Paddleboat Cafe.

The Summer Meltdown festival is an all day, out doors festival in Anchorage featuring mostly local acts in Metal, Rock and occasionally Hip-Hop. The Alaskan band 36 Crazyfists have headlined the festival since its inception in 2005 along with other acts, such as Twelve Tribes and Subconscious, in 2008 36 Crazyfists will not be headlining the festival, insead will be bands Poison the Well and MxPx, marking the first time 36 Crazyfists has not headlined.

Ignite Alaska was a music festival in Fairbanks, Alaska. It lasted two days featuring headliners such as Thousand Foot Krutch, RED, and Manafest as well as local bands from Anchorage and Fairbanks. It was a Christ-based festival with speaker, Blaise Foret, and a band leading worship songs. This event was held at the Carlson Center.

Clucking Blossom

There have been five Clucking Blossom Festivals held in Fairbanks in May 2005 – 2009. Though not related to the Angry Young and Poor Festival which was in August 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005, many who were involved in Angry Young and Poor became associated with the Clucking Blossom Festival because the scene is tightly knit. One of the ideas that fuels Clucking Blossom is to allow all the bands in Fairbanks to share a stage, combining acoustic music, bluegrass, punk, hip hop, metal and rock bands. This also gave people under 21 a chance to see bands that usually only perform in bars, as Fairbanks has an unfortunate few venues for live music. The event is open to everyone and there are events planned specifically for young children, as well as political presentations, a parade, (loosely) organized discussions and public art of all kinds. Including the musicians and activists along with the organizers, over 150 people volunteered to make the 2009 Clucking Blossom at the Birch hill ski area a success.


Make-a-Scene! (or MaS!) is an Alaskan music venue, located in the Mat-Su Valley. It's a safe environment for people of all ages. Make-a-Scene! has also had annual summer music festivals for the past four years. MaS! is also known by valley people for its publication, Make-a-Scene! Magazine, which focuses on Alaskan musicians, poetry, art, politics and film. The magazine prints 7,000 copies a month and distributes to hundreds of local businesses in the Mat-Su Valley, free for people to take and read.

In 2007, Make-a-Scene! moved in to the clock tower in downtown Wasilla; the Meta Rose Square, and has been having concerts and shows there up until early 2009, when they have outgrown they're small downstairs venue and decided it was time to move to a bigger facility. On March, 2009, they moved to a bigger place on Lucas Rd, by the Wonderland Park/Skate Park and the Parks Hwy. A 5,000 sq ft Quonset hut. On April 5, 2009, Make-a-Scene! had their first show in the new, bigger building. There is still a lot of work to be done, but the venue is expected to be completely finished by the end of the summer.


  • Byron, Janet (1996). Country Music Lover's Guide to the U.S.A. (1st ed. ed.). New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-14300-1.  


  1. ^ Byron, pg. 13

External links

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