Native American Music


Chad Hamill: PhD


Dr. Hamill is a dual specialist focusing on the classical music of northern India and Native American music. In addition to teaching at NAU, he has taught courses in indigenous and world musics at Cal Arts, Naropa University, Washington State University and the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he received a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology in 2008.

After earning a BFA degree in African music from Cal Arts in 1993, Hamill began his MFA studies in Indian classical vocal music under the direction of Pandit Rajeev Taranath, world-renowned vocalist and master of the sarod. Soon after receiving his degree, Chad was asked to join the North Indian classical department at Cal Arts where he taught courses in Indian classical theory,sargam, private lessons, and Indian classical ensemble. He performs regularly in the US and has been featured alongside artists such as Pandit Ramesh Misra, Ustad Roshan Bhartiya, Pandit Nayan Ghosh, Abhiman Kaushal and Arup Chattopadhyay. Chad Hamill continues his lifelong study of Indian classical music under the direction of his guru, Pandit Rajeev Taranath.

A descendant of the Spokane tribe, Hamill’s doctoral dissertation, Songs from Spirit: Power and Prayer in the Columbia Plateau, explores traditional song as a catalyst for spiritual power among tribes of the interior Northwest. In addition to regularly giving papers at national meetings for the Society for Ethnomusicology, he has presented papers at Native American and indigenous studies conferences, including AISA (the American Indian Studies Association) and NAISA (the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association). He recently completed a manuscript titled Songs of Power and Prayer in the Columbia Plateau: The Jesuit, the Medicine Man, and the Indian Hymn Singer(Oregon State University Press, 2012), which examines the role of song– both Native and Catholic– in the perpetuation of indigenous identity, a phenomenon he explores largely through the relationship between Gibson Eli (Hamill’s his great-uncle) “the last medicine man of the Spokan tribe,” Fr. Tom Connolly, a Jesuit active in the Columbia Plateau for over half a century, and Mitch Michael, an Indian hymn leader. Songs of Power and Prayer will be a part of an indigenous studies series titled, First Peoples: New Directions in Indigenous Studies.