Bird has recorded ten albums. His most recent are Animal Totems 2 (2005), Arvel Bird Live! (2004), a CD which features his popular stories from his live performances including selections from Animal Totems (2002), a collection of original works which each reflect the essential elements of a powerful animal spirit; and Big Chief Quetoos, Paiute Country Fiddle (2003), a collection of Arvel's original tunes as well as old cowboy songs, bluegrass tunes and traditional fiddle tunes with Indian names. Rakish Paddy (2002) is a collection of Celtic tunes from the 16th through 19th centuries played on traditional instruments. Two collaborations with Fred Rothert called My Cabin Don't Leak (2002), with Bird on fiddle, vocals, guitar & banjo by Fred Rothert, and Kentucky Old Time Banjo Champion, Billy Ray Lilly; and Acoustic Christmas, all standard Christmas songs with Fred Rothert on vocals and guitar and Arvel providing incredible violin work. Two other collaborations are: Ananeah (2005), with William Eaton, Mary Redhouse and Will Clipman; and Raven in the Midnight Sun (2004) with Disney's Pocahontas, Irene Bedard and husband Deni Wilson. Arvel's first release on Singing Wolf Records was Birdstock: Fiddle Tunes for the Birds (2001), an eclectic mix of Texas fiddle, bluegrass, Celtic and jazz tunes all named for birds. Draggin' the Bow (1981), Bird's first self-recording, features his original composition entitled "The Breakfast Suite," a piece which was premiered at a concert by the Fort Wayne Philharmonic.
Early life and education:
From the age of nine, Bird knew what he wanted to do with his life-he wanted to play the trumpet. With no funds for a trumpet available, Bird was presented with his first violin, an instrument given to his mother by a violin maker named Joseph Smithbauer. Bird and the violin were soon inseparable, although the instrument's size challenged the young player. Bird's family recognized his special gift and was eventually able to provide him with private lessons. Bird continued to study classically on a music scholarship to Arizona State University. Though his desire was to develop his performance skills, each and every professor he encountered told him he wasn't "good enough" to perform and that he should concentrate on teaching instead. Bird's response was to leave Arizona and move to the mid-west to study with Paul Roland, a renowned Hungarian violin instructor at the University of Illinois-Champagne/Urbana. Under Roland's tutelage, Bird gained the technical proficiency and confidence that has served him so well over the years.
The foundations of Bird's musical style:
It was after leaving school in 1973 that Bird found his true musical calling. During this period, Bird devoted hours of each day to improvisational playing, developing the unique style for which he is known today. As his style developed, Bird was invited to play with many folk, bluegrass, and Celtic musicians. According to Bird, "I was attracted to the wild abandon of fiddle music. Eventually, as I continued performing, a tribal feeling and Celtic style began running through most of my own compositions resonating from deep inside of me." Ironically, at this time, Bird was unaware of his Scottish heritage, and had not yet explored his Native American roots.
Bird's exploration of his American Indian roots:
Born to a Mormon inter-racial family in Idaho and raised in Utah and Arizona, Bird was aware of his Indian heritage from an early age, but, like many families in that time and place, Indian heritage was not mentioned, let alone celebrated. Bird grew up as part of a hard working, middle-class family and out of fear of his mother's reaction, he never asked her about her Native origins. As an adult, Bird became more and more interested in his background, eventually donating time and resources to a project aimed at protecting ancient Native burial sites in Tennessee. In 2000, Bird released the first Native American album that simultaneously launched Singing Wolf Records. This sparked the beginning of his personal journey to uncover the truth about his Paiute heritage. In the summer of 2001, Bird received documentation previously unknown to him from his mother supporting his bloodline to the Shivwit Paiute tribe in Southern Utah. The effect this discovery has made on Bird has been profound.
He made trips to St. George, UT and the Shivwit Paiute reservation where he met half sisters (cousins), searched and studied his genealogy, attended powwows and talked to elders, all the while finding a stronger affinity and connection to the underlying core beliefs of Native America and a deepening sense of who he was. Since then all of his performances have reflected and honored his Native American heritage through his music and stories.
For more information on Bird, the public may visit www.arvelbird.com, contact Kimberly Kelley at (615) 406-3689 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bird's CD's are available at www.arvelbird.com, www.singingwolfrecords.com, www.amazon.com, www.cdbaby.com, select Borders and Tower Records, Native American and New Age stores worldwide.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Badger Boogie
2. Coyote Caper
3. Deer Tracks
4. Dolphin Dances
6. Elephants in the Mist
7. Frog Toad'em
8. Great Blue Heron
9. Grand Ole Osprey
11. Raven Crow
12. Snake Medicine
13. Spookie Spider
14. Turtle Dove
15. Canadian Geese