Colorado singer and songwriter Leon Joseph Littlebird will weave tales of old and new - of Colorado life and Native American ancestry, as told through stunning visuals, flute and guitar - into two mesmerizing performances this week as part of the Jim Calaway Honors Series.
Littlebird said the concerts will take the audience on a journey through the history of music, life in Colorado and the beauty of nature, all with a message of "peace, compassion and understanding." The performances will incorporate images and video choreographed to songs and stories.
"This is a multimedia experience that draws people in and makes them feel part of it," he said.
A third-generation native of Colorado with both pioneer and Native American ancestry, Littlebird draws from his cultural heritage for rich and unique musical experiences.
His stories of pioneer life are influenced by his great-grandfather, one of the original settlers in Blackhawk, Colo., and he connects to his ancestral roots of the indigenous Navajo people of northern New Mexico with ancient flute music.
Littlebird's music and stories touch on his respect for the spirit of the mountains and "great appreciation for where we live and what we do in Colorado," he said.
Littlebird performs on prestigious stages all over the country. He was a featured musician and storyteller in 17 performances for the Boston Revels at the Sanders Theater in Cambridge. He has performed with Chicago's West Suburban Symphony, and at the Healing Arts Concerts for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
He was voted "Best Entertainer" in Summit County in the Summit Daily newspaper reader's poll.
Littlebird has released four albums, including "Calling the Spirits," "Talking to the Ancestors," and "Higher Stakes."
Although Littlebird travels throughout the U.S. and performs at 40 to 50 venues every year, he said he enjoys the opportunity to return to his home state and perform for local audiences.
The concerts will also feature percussionist and projectionist Jeff Shook. Shook has lived in the San Luis Valley at Villa Grove for the past 30 years and has owned and operated the Villa Grove Trade, a cafe featuring local food and music, for nine years.
The performances will honor three local philanthropists: George and Patti Stranahan and the late Marvelle Couey.