(Pura Fe: Photo Taken By Christine McFarlane)
By: Christine McFarlane
Recently I was given the chance to interview Pura Fe and was immediately struck by her warm demeanour and candidness as I sat and interviewed her. Pura Fe is a founding member of the internationally renowned native women's a cappella trio Ulali and a Native American singer who is recognized for creating a new genre in music by bringing Native contemporary music to the forefront of the mainstream music industry. She is currently a World Music Visiting Artist in Residence at the University of Toronto.
Pura Fe was born in New York City, and grew up in the working class community of Corona in the Queens borough of New York, but her family has traced its roots back to the Cherokee and Tuscarora tribes of the southeastern United States. Her Spanish name translates as “Pure Faith” which was given by her father who is from Puerto Rico. She was raised by her mother and a gifted family of female singers, that are descendants of the Tuscarora Nation that had migrated from North Carolina to New York in the early 1900’s.
Though she is only here until December 15, 2011, she is bringing her unique style of music to the students who are getting a chance to study with her. Pura Fe is teaching/mentoring a core group of 15-20 students in the Music Department, has been brought into other courses at the University to do presentations and workshops, and most recently held a concert in October for the Chocolate Woman Collective Theatre group fundraiser that took place October 25, 2011.
(the full interview will be in the next issue of the Native Canadian newsletter)