Frank Waln Credit: Courtesy of the Old Town School of Folk Music

Sicangu Lakota rapper, producer, and engineer Frank Waln celebrates and bears witness to the survival of Indigenous peoples in his compositions. Born and raised on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, Waln received his bachelor’s of arts in audio arts and acoustics from Columbia College Chicago and currently lives in Washington Park. He views his music as a vehicle to express his truth and encourage other people to see crucial issues through a lens not their own. In his raps he pushes back hard against the historical erasure that Indigenous peoples have suffered for centuries. He tells stories onstage to bridge his songs, and both his stories and his songs deliver impassioned, precise calls to honor those who lived in the Americas prior to colonization and to respect the worldview of their descendants. He often explains a prophecy of the Plains people that predicts that after seven generations of hardship following the group’s first contact with Europeans, Indigenous youth will bring about a time of great healing and recover the languages and cultures lost to centuries of cruelty and genocide. As Waln explains in an interview with Vocalo, the time of this seventh generation is now. He chronicles its rise and vision for the future in songs that highlight Indigenous empowerment and pride, in part by sampling Indigenous poets and elders in prayer. This concert promotes the celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which takes place the second Monday of October (Chicago still officially recognizes it as Columbus Day, though at least six states and 130 cities, including Oak Park, have adopted Indigenous People’s Day instead). The evening will also feature NuFolk Rebel Alliance, who combine folk music from North and South America with punk, as well as Opliam, the rootsy hip-hop fusion project of concert coproducer Liam McDonald.   v