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Life, People, Places, Voices and Music
APRYL ALLEN is recognized as a unique talent with the ability to create words, lyrics and music that reflect her passionate outlook on life and personal inspirational experiences. She is an author, playwright, composer and musician who has recorded two award winning albums, recently completed a book and is currently writing a trilogy.
Apryl’s first album, Morningstar, demonstrates her songwriting ability across multiple musical genres—Blues, Bossa-Nova, Jazz, Country, Pop, Adult Contemporary and World Music. After reviewing her album in 2007 The Recording Academy Screening Committee inducted Apryl as a Voting Member of The Recording Academy (GRAMMYs). Her album Morningstar then went on to qualify in five GRAMMY categories that year. In May of 2009, Velvet Voice, a featured song on the album, was voted the #1 Jazz Song on Ourstage.com.
Na Unu Nahai (Shape Shifter) also made its debut on Morningstar. It features Apryl’s ability to blend traditional Native American language, music and sounds with pop music. This song was instrumental in modifying The Recording Academy’s submittal and qualification requirements for the Native American GRAMMY category in 2008 (sadly, this category no longer exists).
The enthusiastic accolades Apryl received from her song Na Unu Nahai, was the catalyst for the music, language and stories of her heritage that became the sole focus for her second album, Na Unu Nahai (Shape Shifter). Continuing with her in depth research she discovered her family’s Comanche legacy. Ultimately she melded these stories into lyrics and music which are reflected within the album.
The research for and creation of Na Unu Nahai was an unexpected and profoundly life altering experience. The opportunity to be a voice for a dying language and culture, a voice for real-life stories, both spoken and documented, handed down from generation to generation was unforeseen. The language and stories of her people are among those that are in danger of extinction—less than fifty people in the world today can speak Comanche. (Comanche recently became a written language in 2002; only three individuals can read, write and translate it.)
Na Unu Nahai has received extraordinary responses throughout the US and internationally from fans as far reaching as Europe, Australia and Japan. Na Unu Nahai has been placed in the Comanche Nation Historical Archives, The Oklahoma Historical Society Indian Archives and is merchandized at the Comanche Nation Tourism Department, The National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian) and the Heard Museum in Arizona. The Comanche Nation, based on Apryl’s accomplishments and her family legacy, in 2008 proclaimed November 7th “Apryl Allen Day.”
In 2009 Na Unu Nahai was honored with four nominations by the Native American Music Awards (NAMMYs) and went on to win Best Pop Recording that year. Apryl, at that time, also became an Advisory Member for the NAMMYs. Na Unu Nahai then qualified for seven GRAMMYs at the 2010 Recording Academy GRAMMY Awards. Apryl was also a featured soloist that performed with the Phoenix Symphony that same year. By popular demand Apryl created a remix in 2011 of Black Moon (Tuhu Mua) adding the tagline Eagle Scream Remix.
Furthering her endeavors, Apryl received a few remarkable reactions to Na Unu Nahai that resonated deeply within. The first, being an individual attending the NAMMYs who implored “You should be very proud for what you’ve achieved for the Comanche Nation but do you realize what you’re doing for Native Americans as a whole?” The Elders of her tribe, along with their language and oral family history no longer exist. Soon after an Elder of the Seneca Nation approached Apryl citing, “Do you know what we call an individual such as yourself in our tribe? A Bloodtalker.” He later went on to explain Apryl’s ancestors speak through her—she is the voice for their stories.
Based on these reactions and the success of her album Na Unu Nahai, Apryl was driven to awaken the spoken history that has been passed down within her tribe. Thus the process of writing Shape Shifter (Na Unu Nahai) the trilogy came to fruition. Her plan is then to eventually create its musical. After hearing of her intentions, the Arizona Opera made known their interest to workshop the musical. The Comanche Nation, the National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian), The Heard Museum have all voiced interest in a performance as well.
During this same period in 2009 Apryl’s path crossed with Gil Gutiérrez, a classical flamenco guitarist, who tours with Doc Severinsen. Gil has played such venues as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and has performed with the San Diego Symphony, Florida Symphony, Phoenix Symphony and the Minneapolis Orchestra to name a few. Apryl and Gil are currently collaborating on a Latin American album with the working title ‘Temptation.’ This album will be performed in both Spanish and English.
In 2013 Apryl was unexpectedly taken from her beloved projects—she was diagnosed with breast cancer. In search of help, advice and answers, Apryl looked to books in hopes they would shed light on this alternate world. But none addressed the realities of what she was feeling as a living human being, nor what her future held. Thus in January 2014 she chronicled an honest experience in detail of what she encountered—a happenstance she did not find spiritually uplifting as so many claim. Her book A Tango with Cancer: My Perilous Dance with Healthcare & Healing will be released on October 13, 2016.
Apryl has returned to her life with a renewed outlook—she understands its true fragility. As a survivor of breast cancer and child abuse, Apryl views life as a sacred gift we should all cherish. Her dream, as a member of a dying culture, is to be a voice that echoes throughout the world. Nasutamu, Nasutamu . . . (Remember, Remember . . .)