Wade Fernandez


Tribe: Menominee
Medium: Musician/Singer

Location: Keshena, Washington
Website: www.wadefernandez.com

2015 Cultural Capital Fellow
2012, 2013 Artist in Business Leadership Fellow
2010 Community Spirit Award Honoree
First Peoples Fund Artist Success Coach/Trainer

Wade is a professional musician and songwriter/composer who teaches a mixture of Menominee style and modern blues, rock, country, jazz, soul and folk music using native flute and guitar, hand drum, percussion, bass, keyboards, bouzouki, mandolin and the harmonica. Born and raised on the Menominee Reservation, he teaches native flute and guitar lessons at the Menominee Tribal School. He is honored knowing that many of his students have gone on to perform nationally. He says, "Healing though art is a gathering of peoples' emotions and in the release is the creation of art." He adds, "As artists we are not the healer or the crier. We are merely the instrument that tries hard to stay in tune...and when art is ready to heal we do not obstruct its path."

"Wade has a gentle, magnetic personality and draws people to him. He has developed an implausible relationship with our community and youth who not only respect him but who trust him and believe in him." - Shannon Chapman, Community Spirit Award nominator.

There are just a handful of original speakers of the Menominee Language still living.  This rapid loss has put a sense of urgency in Wade to translate some of his known songs such as Commodity Cheese Blues, to the Menominee Language as well as compose new songs that contain directions for action/movement so the children and teachers on the reservation may use it in their classroom or at home.

As an international performer, Wade has performed with many artists including Jackson Browne and The Indigo Girls. Recently he received a 2014 Top Finalist in the NAMMYS for Artist Of The Year and Album Of The Year for Breath and Flow. He was the 2013 winner of two Indian Summer Music Awards as well as finalist for 3 more (covering 5 different musical genres with new CD, Breathe & Flow).