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Listen to the Music

Listen to a digital version of our sampler disc that contains samples from selected albums listed in the Canyon Records catalog.

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The Canyon Records Story

Canyon Records of Phoenix, Arizona, producer and distributor of Native American music, is one of the oldest independent record labels in the music industry as well as one of the oldest cultural institutions in the state of Arizona.

Canyon Records was founded in 1951 by Ray and Mary Boley. The Boleys had opened the first recording studio at Seventh Avenue and Roosevelt in Phoenix in 1948, and their involvement with Native American music began when Ray was asked by the Phoenix Little Theater to record a Navajo singer named Ed Lee Natay. Boley was so taken with Natay's singing that he recorded a collection of songs titled Natay, Navajo Singer. This album is still in active release.

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R. Carlos Nakai...

Of Navajo-Ute heritage, R. Carlos Nakai is the world's premier performer of the Native American flute. He began his musical studies on the trumpet, but a car accident ruined his embouchure. His musical interests took a turn when he was given a traditional cedar flute as a gift and challenged to master it. As an artist, he is an adventurer and risk taker, always giving his musical imagination free rein. Nakai is also an iconoclastic traditionalist who views his cultural heritage not only as a source and inspiration, but also a dynamic continuum of natural change, growth, and adaptation subject to the artist's expressive needs.

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