Primeaux & Mike are best known for their Native American Church and Peyote songs. In 2002 Bless the People won the Grammy for Best Native American Album and the Nammy for Best Traditional Recording.
Recording Group: Primeaux & Mike
Style: Native American Church & Peyote Songs
Singers: Verdell Primeaux & Johnny Mike
Tribe: Verdell – Dakota (Yankton) Sioux and Ponca heritage and Johnny – Dine (Navajo)
Verdell Primeaux is of Oglalla/Dakota (Yankton) Sioux and Ponca heritage and was born in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Verdell represents the Seven Council Fires of the Lakota and the Eagle Clan of the Ponca Nation.
Verdell’s mother, Delores Arapahoe, an Oglalla Lakota, is a descendent of Chiefs Many Horses, Red Cloud and Crazy Horse.
Primeaux was born in 1966 in Scottsbluff, Nebraska to the Pine Ridge Oglala Lakota Nation, and is the son of noted peyote singer Francis Primeaux Senior and grandson of Harry Primeaux. He currently resides in Tuba City, Arizona with his wife and children.
At birth Verdell was diagnosed with a combination of spinal meningitis and yellow meningitis. Verdell’s father, Francis Primeaux, Sr., traveled to Texas where he harvested peyote, with the help of Amanda Cardenas and family, which at the time was illegal to possess even for religious reasons. Francis returned home with the peyote and through prayer and songs of the Native American Church, cured Verdell’s illness.
Today, Verdell considers himself a living testimony to the healing power of God and Peyote.
Verdell grew up in a Native American music world, coming from a prominent recording family, including his grandfather the late Harry Primeaux, and his father the late Chief Francis Primeaux Sr., who were both well known native American recording artists.
At the age of two, Verdell received Holy Baptism which was performed by his great grandfather, Solomon Red Bear, Sr. By the time he was five, Verdell began singing and learning Lakota culture and tradition. When he was thirteen, Verdell recorded four albums with his father and at the age of sixteen he began composing lyrics and rhythms.
In conjunction with Johnny Mike, Verdell developed healing chants or “Two in One” music, which are peyote melodies and harmonies sung without drum or rattle accompaniment. This newer style of songs from the Native American Church attracted the attention of Robbie Robertson who included Verdell and Johnny as featured guest artists on the Capitol Records production, Contact from the Underworld of Redboy.
His accomplishments include 41 Native American Church albums as well as 4 Native rock & roll records that are heard worldwide. Verdell is a two-time Grammy winner, multiple Nammy Winner & AFIM award winner as well as NHRD IND’ award winner.
An accomplished singer/songwriter, he is now pursuing & writing music in the classical realm for all people of the world.
Other credits under his accomplishments include co-production of the Robbie Robertson Project of VH1, MTV and numerous sync licensings for major motion pictures. Verdell is also a Native Ambassador traveling worldwide supporting & addressing Native issues & concerns.
Johnny Mike is a Dine (Navajo) from Kitsili, Black Mesa, Arizona. His maternal clan is Near the Water People and on his father’s side he represents the Salt Clan. He has two children, Rachael and Shane, and resides in Chinle, Arizona.
Both sides of his family have been prominent in the Native American Church. Johnny’s grandfathers and grandmothers were some of the first to use peyote within the Navajo nation and at a time when people went to jail for using peyote as a part of the worship of the Native American Church.
Primeaux and Mike’s fourth recording, Walk in Beauty, was a finalist for a 1996 NAIRD India Award. Their sixth recording, Sacred Path, was a finalist for a 1998 AFIM Indie Award. Their seventh recording, Peyote Songs of the Native American Church, was the winner of the 1998 New Age Voice Music Award for Traditional Native American Music and the 1998 Native American Music Awards for Best Traditional Music. Gathering of Voices was a 1999 finalist for an AFIM Indie Award. In 2002, Bless the People won the Grammy for Best Native American Album and the Nammy for Best Traditional Recording.
Listen: As it was in the beginning (Harmonized Chant)