oglalapuppies by Wanbli CeyaTweet
2 years ago, today I released tempo, my debut project, the 1st chapter of the oglala wolf puppy w/ ptsd… Here’s what I need you all to know…By Wanbli Ceya
hau hau hau. I’m not completely aware of the amount of my natives or non-natives who know who I am, but I’m hoping with this, the release of my short film “my winyan”, and all this new music and content that will come out through my imprint “oglalapuppies.” that will all change here.
I realize now more than ever, it’s only a matter of time. Wanbli Ceya emaciyapi yelo. I’m an Oglala singer / songwriter (go by juQ) intending to be based out of the Red Shirt Table village on the Pine Ridge Reservation, which is Oglala Lakota territory, in the colony known as South Dakota which is in the empire known as the United States (decided to be annoying and say that, don’t care, it’s just fact). My primary initiatives and goals are to be a major influence in the shpeel of Lakota language / cultural revitalization and the cleansing of all toxic unhealthy constituents that have found themselves with in my Oglalas on Pine Ridge due to imperialism led by the American Government. Music is just 1 of the many avenues I’m taking, but I also have community projects like “mni: the lakota immersion tipi village”, “connect the dots”, etc. in the works but this article is not focused on any of that or my back story, where I derive from, all that other crap that can be unearthed future tense. My focus is my debut project “tempo”, which came out 2 years ago today. So, in essence, the reason why I am doing this is because if “tempo” was given proper release and stature as was intended, I feel this project would’ve been huge, given the content and potential that existed with in the album itself as well as the story that is actually being told on it, which to this day I’m still amazed it came out of me, with most of it being written primarily when I was 17 / 18… crazy stuff. This article will not only focus on “tempo” itself, the ins and outs from the brief explanation of the content and nature of each record on the album to the literal telling of the story itself, but also an honest interpretation of what led to a botched release, botched mixing and mastering, and overall nowhere near the exposure as hoped in this span of time, which will be addressed towards the end of the article (hints: all my fault… entirely. also imagine a big sad lovesick puppy who has been through a lot and has mommy / daddy issues… FUN). Anyways, I’d just like to get straight to it, my debut project “tempo” as I’ve stated contains a story, actually 1st chapter of said story which is entitled “the oglala wolf puppy w/ ptsd”… here is a brief synopsis:
“’the oglala wolf puppy w/ ptsd’ follows the main character ‘oglala wolf puppy’ and the night he experiences that changes his life forever. After escaping a very tragic life scenario that nearly took everything from him, he goes to a place where there are more like him, and almost seemingly slides opportunities he never could’ve imagined, which culminates into him meeting “tempo”,a Lakota winyan on a similar path and the project itself follows everything that happens that night, and what both characters pick up from the situation they find themselves in.”
I’m excited for what’s to come with the pay out in regards to the story truthfully being told in this project and future projects “nya” and “mni, as well as the visuals / movies that will come with them. For now, please enjoy this brief explanation and summarization of… “the oglala wolf puppy w/ ptsd, Chapter one: tempo”. Dun dun dun. the oglala wolf puppy w/ ptsd (chapter wanji): tempo…
Track #1: Start
“Start” is comprised of a poem called “pup”, which I wrote when I was 16, and a skit that launchs the story into motion. I wrote “pup” during a very crazy transitional space for me, while I was in a crazy relationship that pushed a process of self-discovery that I think I truly needed, a space of truly realizing what was going to work for me. Unfortunately, in those moments you never see it like that, you imagine it being forever then when it isn’t, it kills. For me it sent me to a psychological point of madness that pushed me to a mental breakdown, one that changed my life forever. I wanted to catapult that energy into the presentation of the poem as well as the skit that follows. Within this track, you can envision the main character (oglala wolf puppy) in a car being driven somewhere as the poem plays out. In the end of it, the scene switches to the oglala wolf puppy, sitting backstage nervous, with many ramblings going through his mind as he is being presented and will perform. He gets halted, mid thought, as the curtain opens, signifying the transition to the 1st song he performs, “pupyluv”, which is the next track on the album. Just convenient huh.
Track #2: pupyluv
“pupyluv” is a song I wrote when I was 16 / 17 and the beat that goes with I produced as well. A sort of alternative poppy electro record about the trajectory of the positioning I found myself in, where I tell a winyan & anyone listening that “it’s only puppy love” and “I ain‘t even grown yet”, meaning that the bliss they experience with me is only the beginning and there is much more to come. This song underwent a lot of writing changes, with the 1st and 2nd verses receiving those as well as the final sing rap verse as I desired to layer it more with new realizations of my new sense of awareness (hense the references to Anna Mae, The Ghost Dance, Missing & Murdered indigenous women, Nataani Means, incorporating some words in Lakota, etc.). with the story, this would be 1st song in the oglala wolf puppy’s performance, which the song after this one would be the last in his set.
Track #3: Te Ata
Now this record is a doosy, as it is also my favorite record I’ve released so far. The song title along contains a depth of history, as the name comes from the Chickasaw woman known as Te Ata, a storyteller through song and dance, that ended performing all over the world sharing stories of our people, even finding herself at the White House and Broadway back in the 1920s. The song is, in essence, to a Lakota winyan, who presents the culture and way of life in a way that changes my world, so I thought it’d be fun to make a reference to such a figure that I feel is not mentioned as much (you all should definitely watch that movie Te Ata on her, I’ve been meaning to, I guess I could promo it in this article haha). Anyways on to describing the other equally important traits of this personal favorite of mine… Te Ata is set up in a way I think is more beneficial if it’s seen the right light. The verses in a nutshell are referring to various qualities of my relationship with this winyan, as well as standards she holds herself to, perceiving these characteristics as beautiful or sexy, rather than just using her physical attributes as most songs do in regards to women. 4 points are marked throughout the verses such as:
• Cultural & historical connection, that of which comes from sharing that lineage (Eatin’ frybread on Falling Rock, this is a love they could never know…)
• Embracing culture and identity for self and not show (in moccasins and an eagle feather, no wild west it ain’t for show…)
• Sobriety and flipping as the better more attractive thing to be (not a drop of alcohol has touched those lips, my anomaly’s a peyote trip…)
• Her relationship with land through being connected with who she is (Don’t see cities you see our land, as who you are, you take a stand…)
I feel it’s super important for other traits to be showcased as beautiful rather than everything being based on looks as I feel dominant society tends to lean towards. That theme translates into the bridge and the hook, with the bridge depicting this context of being broken, lost, not being able to get to know myself as an Oglala and this dominant society breaking me down… This winyan becomes a catapult of my own identity into who I’m destined to be, which is then depicted by the hook as a desire to get back to old ways and for her to take to that space, that mindset as an attempt at achieving true freedom. This song has a lot in it and is capped off by a skit at the end, which would signify the performance ended, and that you’re getting a scene that would take place later in the evening where he has the opportunity to speak with that winyan named “tempo” that he met prior to his performance. In this skit, you can hear more of the Oglala wolf puppy’s ramblings, not as negative as he is excited to meet with this winyan, and this scene ends with him saying “hi” to tempo… which is then immediately switched to a deeper voice saying “later that night” … Idk if I’ve lost everyone in what’s happening. Basically, the Oglala wolf puppy spoke with tempo before he performed, then he did, and there was a party afterwards which she attended and he went to talk to her. The next track showcases what happens next. I’m already tired trying to tell this story. Lol
Track #4: ofm…
So, this is just a skit. You can hear what sounds like the Oglala wolf puppy having a panic attack and passes out. This is supposed to catapult the story into the next sequences, but the purpose of all this is to the complicated dynamics of one’s mental health, the manner in which ptsd or various mental health issues can shift the energy of a night that was meant to be pure bliss. Just an interesting tidbit but more is shown in the following tracks.
Doing a bit of tangent here before I finish the story, this is something I realized I put into my album before I even knew I did. Which is a cryptic message, displayed in the way each track is presented and written… *pow wow drum roll*…
1. From where I started…
2. Things have changed and it’s only the beginning…
3. My culture and language saved my life…
4. While I…
5. Am still struggling…
6. To grasp my truth…
7. I found my freedom…
8. And that will lead my people…
fun stuff. You’ll see that as the story unfolds.
Track #5: k.
So, this picks up exactly where track 4 leaves off. Provides sort of an ominous vibe, with the center being the sentiment… “I just want to be ok”. What I’ve learned with my experience with mental health, is when you have found yourself losing your way psychologically, the basic response you just want to feel alright, it doesn’t have to be next level amazing, you’re just trying to find that sigh of relief. This is a minor reflective song on the pressures of today’s society, and just trying to navigate your best through the trauma, the most notable segment being… “I won’t be the same cause life is nothing more than chemicals in the brain” … A very thought inducing lyric on the consistencies of one’s experience of human life, what’s real, what’s fake, what aspects of society hold any truth or real benefit. It gets super existential if you ruminate on it for a bit. In the story, this is another “in my head” sequence for the oglala wolf puppy. On to the next bit.
Track #6: Correction
“you’re all mistakes and I’m a correction, I’m the correction…”
This one line could pretty much sum up the semi surreal context of this track. This is piece I actually wrote also from 16 – 18, during that time somewhere. It’s really a reflection on the sort of craziness I found myself in as well as what I was seeing in the toxic nature of dominant society, wanting to expose all of it as I attempted to find my way out of it. In the context of the story, the oglala wolf puppy is reflecting on a piece he wrote as he is coming down from his sort of panic attack he was undergoing, trying to justify the fight or flight response he’s developed, where the whole world is messed up so in reality, “I’m more ok then I am fucked”. It’s a defense mechanism from him really slipping, a way of protecting himself, that of which tempo notices but realizes may have an impact in the future…
Track #7: july
“july” focuses on the theme around freedom, that of which contorts the concept around it with the unhealthy dynamics presented so avidly in wasicu world. The song is basically a jab at America’s ideology around freedom, when in reality there is no freedom in the life that is lead here, at least not compared to the life that was lived by my Lakota people for thousands of years prior to America even being a thought. It becomes a more resistance love story, as I am singing to a winyan, entertaining the idea that we may have something so sweet and beautiful between us and it may be safer, quieter to keep to ourselves but with the freedom we’ve found within each other and in the culture, language, etc. We should exist to help our people get to the same place. There’s more colorful imagery to display these themes throughout the lyrics of the song but that’s for you to decipher (heart). In the context of the story, after the Oglala wolf puppy finally gets over his sort of episode he has while they have the night they have, he opts to show her a song (which is july) and then says “ya know, I think this was about you…” just a player. Ayyeee.
Track #8: LUTA
This record is the final climax in essence on this fun project, it’s an upbeat edm pop record where in essence I am reflecting on the relationship I have with this winyan, tell her about all the stuff we can do, I imagine a big music video sequence where you could see us really begin to change the situation for our people and way of life and be a part of changing the world. I speak on how important it may be for our people to see the undying love between us, and how a non-native or white person could never know her like I do. A lotta layers to it but it’s a big climatic fun record. In the context of the story, this is the oglala wolf puppy telling tempo everything they can be, and she just says ok. Hoorayyyyyyyyy
Track #9: tp
Here we are, the finale. In the context of the story, there just sort of sitting with each other, cause she decided to be with him through whatever he goes through from here on out. In the context of track there are so many layers, as for me this track symbolizes me coming home to my people, culture, language, as does the entire album and the concept of “tempo”. I reflect on the dynamics of my past, being a victim of traumatic upbringings but still finding my way out of it, getting to the man I’m meant to be, and while I’m not there yet, I’m getting there. It also features my 1st hand drum song in Lakota, which in essence speaks to the same message. The spoken word part speaks to the relationship between the oglala wolf puppy and tempo, now only wanting their language, way of life, a place to just exist and create, and be with each other… also silence. Note the track is called “tp”…. mni: the lakota immersion tipi village. Just gonna leave that there.
Well that is in essence, “tempo”, the 1st chapter of “the oglala wolf puppy w/ ptsd”.So before I get into some back story stuff in regards to this project and the things that went on, I want to put all the links I normally would at the end cause this is all the music / story stuff covered at this point but all this other stuff is more personal than anything, but here you go:
Listen to “tempo” along with all my music, at the following links below:
Watch my 1st music video for my song “july”:
Stream / Purchase “tempo”, ogp.” on:
Apple Music / Itunes: https://apple.co/2pYbB5Z
Amazon Play: https://amzn.to/2SjzxxJ
And anywhere those can be made!
I don’t want to get so crazy in on this, as I’d like to maintain a personal contingency to my life to some extent as well as those, I develop relationships whether it be private, business or both. But in order for you to get the full picture, I must give context, but I’d like to emphasize how much love I have for this particular individual, literally changed my life forever in a way I can’t imagine and that none of this is to slander anyone.
Basically, I’ve been able to do music at a high standard since I was 16, not to toot my own horn or whatever, it’s just if I was in the right place, I’d probably be much bigger. But a small nothing town like Humboldt, Iowa isn’t exactly a breeding ground for pop star superheroes. After I graduated from high school, well just in general, I was getting in my own identity as a native I guess, adding all sorts of natives left and right throughout the end of my high school years. So, in this time I would send my music at the time to as many people as possible. And it turns out I caught someone’s attention heavily, someone my ina told me I should connect with. His name is Brandis Knudsen, aka B. of Dakota South Records. He ran his own independent label called Dakota South Records based out of Rapid City, South Dakota, having achieved some mild success, having collaborated with some big artists. Never seen a bigger teddy bear, lol. But I guess wasn’t really drawn to that as I think I had checked out his music and I really wasn’t into it. But I felt genuinely connected for a variant of reasons, much of which came from a space of low self-esteem. I mean when someone tells you they see you being huge in music and even dares to say the “Biggie to his Diddy” (I was more of a rapper at the time, I’ve taken a complete shift from that but it was still a major compliment) also letting me in on that amongst all the artists he’d came across, I was the 1st one he felt he truly could back a 1000%, which all this stuff was just mind-blowing for me. So, I decided to go with it. Fast forward past a mental breakdown, a forgettable stint at Iowa Central Community college, and just a lotta messiness. I made my move back home to my Black Hills, November 6th, 2015. Just before I turned 21, crazy to think everything that has happened in that 3-year span now that my birthday, November 8th, has passed and I’ve grown so much since then. But yeah, when I got there, we basically began working on stuff, with the eventual release my 1st ep “ogp.”, my debut full length “tempo” among other content. But unfortunately, the terrain during those times and after the releases were not ideal in any way share or form and I take full blame for that. I’ve been through a lot in my life, accumulating PTSD and parental issues that have made it difficult to develop healthy relationships. On top of that, this was at the time of getting back into Lakolwicohan, our language & way of life, so I’d constantly find discomfort with the lack of cultural identity with Brandis & Dakota South Records which was not a bad thing but made it difficult to navigate with the dreams I had for my Oglalas the entire time. I think I felt it was already as difficult as it was, so not having the right influences in every way made it hard for me. After many complications, and many things falling through and just feeling like I could reach my full potential, I finally decided to leave Dakota South Records end of November 2017. Now as you can see, everything that happened in a way that wasn’t desirable was all on me. As time went on, I began to realize many things with myself, realizing how toxic I was in this situation due to the nature of me and Brandis’ relationship. We’ve managed to still maintain a close relationship, and as things begin to pick up, I have a new project I may still record with him, just release under my own imprint. We still hang out and go out to eat like we used to. This break allowed me the room to understand what I needed to do for myself to come into where I need to be. With all this, It makes me excited to see where this all will go and how “oglalapuppies” will blossom. Hecetu.
Whew. Now that you guys have all that, I’m super grateful with how far things have come along, and how much this story has taken form. I hope this will give you guys enough room to imagine this story as it transpires and that you enjoy the music and visuals that come along with “the oglala wolf puppy w/ ptsd”. I don’t have much else to say other than that I’ve got so much more in the works from the initiatives I plan to launch for my Oglalas in Pine ridge to just the music and bring this story to life and other content I have coming so in order to keep updated, I invite you to follow me on all my music platforms (my SoundCloud, Youtube, Streaming sites that were listed a bit earlier in the article) as well as social media sites below:
Add / Follow “Wanbli Ceya” as well as like my page “juQ”
facebook.com/wanbliceya / facebook.com/wanbliceya9
Much love and please share this around. Wopila Tanka. <3