Native & African-American vocalist/songwriter/composer/educator, Martha Redbone, is known for her unique gumbo of folk, blues, and gospel from her childhood in Harlan County, Kentucky infused with the eclectic grit of pre-gentrified Brooklyn. Inheriting the powerful vocal range of her gospel-singing African American father and the resilient spirit of her mother’s Cherokee/Shawnee/Choctaw culture, Redbone broadens the boundaries of American Roots music. With songs and storytelling that share her life experience as a Native and Black woman and mother in the new millennium, Redbone gives voice to issues of social justice, bridging traditions from past to present, connecting cultures, and celebrating the human spirit.
Redbone and her long-term collaborator/husband, composer/pianist/producer Aaron Whitby's recent work is Bone Hill, an interdisciplinary musical theater work inspired by the lives of Redbone’s family in the hills of coal-mining Appalachia. A multi-racial Cherokee and African American family, they are permanently bonded to their culture, identity and the mountain despite its violent past and the ever-changing laws of the land that threaten to extinguish them. Commissioned by Joe’s Pub/NEA and Lincoln Center for the Arts, Bone Hill – The Concert is touring extensively nationwide and is a recipient of the NEFA National Theater Project Creation and Touring Grant and National Performance Network Creation Fund. Other theatrical commissions include compositions for the Goethe Institute / New York Theater Workshop collaboration, Plurality of Privacy; Primer for a Failed Superpower directed by Rachel Chavkin; a Chinese-American musical collaboration Flood in the Valley which premiered in Beijing in 2018; New Musical work, Black Mountain Women, currently in development at the Public Theater.