Delbert Anderson and Mali Obomsawin
Past event


Occupying the cutting edge of jazz, Indigenous musicians Delbert Anderson and Mali Obomsawin bring their fresh perspectives to REDCAT with a double bill.

Navajo (Diné) jazz trumpeter Delbert Anderson is both a leader and innovator in today’s contemporary jazz scene. A Diné culture bearer, Anderson reimagines traditional melodies once sung in Diné social circles called “spinning songs,” through the language of jazz and funk. Joined at REDCAT by Robert Muller (keyboard), Evan Suiter (bass), and Khalill Brown (drums), the Delbert Anderson Quartet collaborates to provide safe havens for Diné melodies to connect with new pathways for expression. 

One of’s “top ten new jazz artists to watch this year,” bassist, singer, and composer from Odanak First Nation, Mali Obomsawin will take the stage to perform pieces from her debut album, Sweet Tooth, and new works featuring: Allison Burik (reeds), Magdalena Abrego (guitar), and Evan Woodle (drums). Her touring quarter delivers a gripping and dynamic live show, which seamlessly melds chorale-like spirituals, folk melodies, and post-Albert Ayler free jazz to create a musical world all of their own.

Supported by CalArts Indigenous Arts & Expression and the Office of the President.

about the artists

Delbert Anderson

Delbert Anderson brings back the improvisation of the Diné Spinning Songs with modern jazz and funk. Inspired by the Diné social circle, Anderson continues to create new songs with a multi-cultured group known as the Anderson Quartet. 

Anderson has created and contributed to many projects in the arts such as: Trio and Quartet Performances, DDAT Wellness Programming and Music Education/Workshops, Jacob C. Morgan Project and Research, Don Cherry Tribute Album, D’DAT Orchestra Collaborations, Multi-Disciplined Arts Project Spirit Coalescent, Naat’áani Musical, Jazz Jams—Community Development Project, Blue Desert Virtual Tour, Farmington Jazz Festival, South African Exploration Project, Bureau of Land Management Tour, Julia Keefe Indigenous Big Band Project (co-director), and Welcome to Indian Country (music director). Anderson is also the founder of the youth mentor program Native American Music Program (NAMP), now known as Build A Band, D’DAT Management, Inc. (co-founder), and the president of San Juan Jazz Society. 

Anderson is also an active member of the Native American Composers Initiative, Chamber Music America, Western Arts Alliance, Advancing Indigenous Performers, Association of Performing Arts Professionals, Folk Alliance International, Arts Northwest, National Association of Music Merchants, and the International Trumpet Guild. 

Anderson has received the 2023 Cultural Capital Award from First Peoples Fund, 2023 Jazz Road Tour Grant from South Arts, 2023 Oregon State University Artist in Residency Program, 2023 Institute of American Indian Art Artist in Residency Program, 2021-22 Chamber Music America Jazz Presenters Grant, 2022 Collective Spirit Award of First Peoples Fund, 2022 Arts Forward from Association of Performing Arts Professionals, 2022 South Arts Jazz Road Creative Residency, 2021 Caldera Residency Program, 2021 Some Serious Business Residency, 2022 Lewis Prize for Music Think Tank, 2022 USArtists International from Mid Atlantic Arts, 2022 Connie Gotsch Arts Foundation Grant, Western States Arts Federation 2021 Emerging/Leaders of Color Program, 2021 Willow Tail Arts Residency, 2021 New York Trust Award, 2019 APAP Doris Duke Access Award, and the 2019-22 Western Arts Alliance Native Launchpad Award. Anderson has been featured on The New York Times, JazzTimes,, NASA, NPR Music Top 10, Smithsonian Magazine, Yahoo/, TEDx, PBS, FNX Television, and much more.

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Mali Obomsawin

Mali Obomsawin is one of’s “top ten Jazz Artists to Watch this year.” An award winning bassist, songwriter, and composer from Odanak First Nation, Obomsawin’s stunning debut, Sweet Tooth (2022, Out of Your Head), received international acclaim and was named in “best of” lists from The Guardian, JazzTimes, and NPR. Sweet Tooth’s success has brought Obomsawin’s touring sextet to major jazz festivals across the US and Canada, and landed her a triple-feature in the hit Hulu FX series Reservation Dogs’ soundtrack. 

A Smithsonian Folkways Recordings artist, Obomsawin  toured internationally from 2014-2021 with beloved folk-rock band Lula Wiles. An in-demand bassist in the folk and jazz circuits, Obomsawin appears often as an accompanist with contemporaries like Jake Blount and Lizzie No, and has performed at premier festivals like Newport and Philly Folk Fest. She can also be found in galleries and creative music spaces with the likes of Peter Apfelbaum, Taylor Ho Bynum, and Bill Cole’s Untempered Ensemble. In addition to their artistic work, Obomsawin is a community organizer dedicated to land justice and tribal sovereignty. 

Obomsawin received the 2022 International Folk Music Association’s “Rising Tide Award,” which honors young artists who embody the values and ideals of the folk community through their creative work, community role, and public voice. They also received the New England Foundation of the Arts’ “New Work New England” award in 2022. Obomsawin is a member of The Julia Keefe Indigenous Big Band and Indigenous Performance Productions’ Welcome To Indian Country. As a composer-arranger, they scored the upcoming film We Are The Warriors, and collaborated with Red Sky Performance, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and Palaver Strings. Beyond the stage, Obomsawin is a community organizer and advocate for Indigenous rights, environmental justice, and landback. She works as a writer and educator with the Wabanaki-led Sunlight Media Collective to document and promote stories at the intersection of environmental justice and Tribal sovereignty. Her journalism has been published recently in Smithsonian Magazine, National Performance Network, and The Boston Globe. In 2020, Obomsawin co-founded Bomazeen Land Trust, the first-ever Wabanaki land trust, where she currently serves as executive director.

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