Indigenous Performance Group to Headline at Pablo Center

Cassandra Kyser

VIBRANT PERFORMERS. Fifteen-member Iron Boy has performed all over the world and has been an annual favorite at the Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival. They will come to the Pablo Center on Saturday, May 18.
VIBRANT PERFORMERS. Fifteen-member Iron Boy has performed all over the world and has been an annual favorite at the Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival. They will come to the Pablo Center on Saturday, May 18.

Last year, Iron Boy’s performance at Eaux Claires was a rare indigenous presence at a mainstream festival. If you missed Iron Boy then, don’t worry: They’re coming back to town in May for a show at the Pablo Center at the Confluence. The crew will bring on the beat Saturday, May 18, at 7:30pm in the Jamf Theatre.

“There’s a particular form of energy and healing that comes from our way of life and I think people are drawn to it.” – Dylan Bizhikiins Jennings, Iron Boy member

Brenna St. George Jones, director of artistic programming at the Pablo Center, saw Iron Boy perform at Eaux Claires. “I knew I wanted to have them perform at Pablo,” she said. “They were so comfortable moving from genre to genre, such amazing performers and collaborators, that I really wanted to see what they could do with their own show in the Jamf Theatre.” With their unique vocals and powerful drum beats, Iron Boy’s performances embody Mother Earth’s heartbeat.

“We have performed all over the world,” Dylan Bizhikiins Jennings, one of the members of Iron Boy, said. “We love to sing and perform at pow-wows but many times we are afforded unique opportunities to perform at concerts or other types of musical venues, as the world begins to further appreciate our style of song and dance.” According to Bizhikiins Jennings, some of the 15 members of Iron Boy have performed in Canada, France, Italy, England, Germany, and South America.

The Native American troupe takes its name from a late relative, Maza Wakpa Hoksila. In Lakota, this spirit name roughly translates to “Iron Boy.” The group is composed of Lakota, Dakota, and Ojibwe singers. Jennings resides in Bad River, Wisconsin. Many of the other singers are from Minneapolis.

Interest in the troupe is growing. “There’s a particular form of energy and healing that comes from our way of life, and I think people are drawn to it,” Jennings said.

“We are excited to be coming back to Eau Claire and we look forward to bringing our style to the Pablo Center while representing Indian country,” he added.

Iron Boy will perform with another indigenous performance group, Bizhiki Culture & Dance Company. Bizhiki engages audiences with intricate stories, as well as both traditional and contemporary dances and songs.

Tickets for Iron Boy’s and Bizhiki’s upcoming performance are on sale now at www.pablocenter.org.

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