Singer-songwriter Nahko’s debut solo album My Name Is Bear, out October 20, artfully merges rustic acoustic guitars, upbeat energy, tribal flavors, fiery percussion, and ponderous lyrics to tell the tale of an artistic awakening. The album predates his rise to mythos among diehard fans in the band Nahko and Medicine for the People, and it’s an important piece of the puzzle that is Nahko.
Nahko introduces My Name Is Bear with the lead-off and first single “Dragonfly.” Fingerpicked acoustic guitar builds into an unshakable melody punctuated by an African-style beat and chirping birds as he carries the chant, “To my former dragonfly, I resist and I survive.”
“I wrote that at 18,” Nahko recalls. “It’s a special one about following my heart in relation to a first love. I was very enamored with her. We met in Alaska, and she had a similar story to my birth mother. I followed her to Louisiana by way of a very long road trip. We spent four months in a house in the Deep South hanging out. It came from surviving that first year away from home. It was a special piece for me.”
Nahko, an Oregon-native born a mix of Puerto Rican, Native American, and Filipino bloodlines, considers himself a citizen in service to the planet. Disillusioned by the world around him and inspired by vagabond, Americana musicians and storytellers like Conor Oberst and Bob Dylan, Nahko left home as a teenager in search of adventure and self discovery. Armed with stories, a guitar, and a fierce set of ideals, he set out to bridge the cultural gaps dividing his own psyche. He began producing a public, musical journal of his journey toward personal, spiritual, and social healing, and thus his purposeful career in music was set.