Hobbs native nominated for music award
DOROTHY N. FOWLER NEWS-SUN
Hobbs native Randy Granger plays musical instruments that are not likely to fit in with a rock band of any description, but that hasn’t kept him from being nominated for awards for his musicianship.
He’s been nominated for awards by the Native American Music Association for his skill playing Native American flutes, hang (pronounced “hung”) drums and for his vocalizations.
On Thursday Granger, pictured at right, talked to the News-Sun about both the flutes and the hang drum that may or may not be played suspended from something.
“Hang drums can look like flying saucers,” Granger said. “They have a note in the middle and different notes are arranged around the edges.”
They are played with the flat, fleshy pads of fingers and some instruction warn players not to be too enthusiastic as they strike the instrument, lest they damage it.
Because the hang has so few notes, its capacity is usually no more than one octave, which means that playing an entire melody is challenging. Nevertheless, the music created by hang players is melodic and meditative and can be exhilarating and wild.
The same can be said for Native American flutes, each of which plays in a different key.
“I have flutes in many different keys,” he said. “The small flutes make the higher pitched sounds and the larger ones play in lower registers. The diameter of the flute makes a difference as well as the length.”
Granger said he prefers wooden flutes. “But I never had any desire to make my own flutes,” he said. “And I don’t want to play the American silver flute even though it’s capable of playing several octaves.”
Granger composes much of the music he plays. He has several albums available from music websites and the samples available provide haunting themes that reflect the titles he gave them.
Among them are “Ancient Grace,” “Strong Medicine,” “Winter Colors,” and “Place Called Peace.” There are dozens of others.
Granger said he doesn’t know whether he was nominated in the vocalist category for just one song or for his vocalization in general.
“I’ve got an acappella version of “Shenandoah” on the Internet. You can look it up if you want to listen,” he said.
Granger, who graduated from Hobbs High School “in 1982, I think,” attended New Mexico Junior College before transferring to New Mexico State University.
“I started out in journalism,” he said. “But I wanted to do music full time and after I graduated, that’s what I did. I want the people of Hobbs to know how much the music program at the Hobbs schools meant to me. It had high standards and we were reminded often that members of the band and choir were representing both the school and the community.”
“And I am grateful to my parents who supported me in every way. They bought my first set of drumsticks and just kept on helping me,” he said.
Granger said initial nominations are made by members of the NAMA, but the final winners are determined by votes cast by the listening public. He said people can cast votes for him by visiting www.surveymonkey.com/r/ VOTENAMA16 and registering. After registering they will be able to hear song clips and vote. Granger also has the link on his website www.randygranger.net.
The NAMA is the world’s largest professional membership-based organization committed to honoring contemporary and traditional Native American music initiatives. More information is available at www.NAMALIVE.com
Winners are scheduled to be announced live at the 16th Annual Native American Music Awards, Sept. 17 in Salamanca, New York located South of Buffalo, N.Y. on Seneca Nation territory.
Dorothy Fowler can be reached at 391-5445 or by email.