Community Engagement

Native Music Bios – Kalyn Fay & Frank Waln

posted by Allison Nuanes November 8, 2018
Native Musicians, Kalyn Fay and Frank Waln

As we continue through National American Indian Heritage Month, we are excited to share some fabulous contemporary native musicians with you. Many have noticed and commented about the new music you hear when you visit our restaurants. Starting earlier this year, we began exclusively playing music by native artists of many different genres. This has been a labor of love and a lot of fun as we’ve reached out and begun relationships with many of these artists across the country.

While we are kicking this off as part of our National American Indian Heritage Month conversation, we plan to continue sharing more and more native music on our blog, social channels and in our restaurant. This is just the first in our series of musician bios.

On top of all that, we are also really excited to announce our first Spotify Playlist. This playlist is a small eclectic sampling of some of the music we play in the restaurants. We think it’s a great start to find a few new tunes and artists you may have never heard of and add them into your usual rotation. Click here for our Spotify Playlist: Indigenous.

Without further ado, here are our first two artist bios. We hope enjoy them and are as inspired by these amazing artists as we are!

Kalyn Fay, Tulsa, OK

Born and raised in Tulsa, OK, Kalyn Fay is a Cherokee singer-songwriter with one studio album, Bible Belt, released in 2016. Next year will bring exciting new developments for Fay, who will release her second studio album, Good Company, in early 2019. We love this poetic description of her music from her website; “somewhere between the vulnerability of Sufjan Stevens and the brash, beautiful sounds of Wye Oak lives this Okie starlet and a poetic soul wise beyond her years. She’s more than the Tulsa Sound. She’s how Tulsa sounds.”

Fay is not only a musician and recording artist, she is also a talented graphic designer and fine artist. She holds a B.F.A. In Graphic Design from Rogers State University, and an M.A. in Graphic Design/Printmaking from The University of Tulsa. She also teaches Graphic Design as adjunct faculty, tutors, and offers one-on-one instruction. She has worked with numerous businesses, musicians, parks, museums and arts groups, lending her unique skills to help bring designs to life.

Listen to selected Kalyn Fay tracks on our Spotify playlist, or stream or purchase her music here, on her website.

Frank Waln, Rosebud Reservation, SD

Frank Waln is a Sicangu Lakota who grew up on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. His hip hop music has won several awards, including three Native American Music Awards. Beyond his music awards, he has won several accolades for the work he has done in the community, including the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development 2014 40 Under 40, the 2014 Chicago Mayor’s Award for Civic Engagement, and the 2016 3Arts Grant for Chicago Artists.

If that all doesn’t sound cool enough, he’s been called the “Bob Marley of the Lakota” by Playboy magazine. Zaron Burnett III, the writer for that piece on Waln, said this about his music; “When you listen to his rhymes, Waln raps in cadences that boast a percussive power. His voice hits you square in the chest. His lyrics entertain your mind with stories from his life and of his people. He crafts his bars to be honest. His beats are thick. The result is catchy in a way that his music stays with you long after the song ends. Waln makes damn good Native American hip-hop. Which he hopes will help heal the world. Why? Because this is his world. This is the place where everyone he loves lives.”

Frank Waln is featured on our Spotify Playlist, Indigenous. You can also listen to his tracks on his Soundcloud, and learn more about him on his website,

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