Infinite Improvisation Podcast: adventures in music and creativity with Steve Treseler and Lauren Best.
The first episode of our interview series, a conversation with Ed Littlefield. We discuss Ed's journey studying Native Lingít music alongside jazz, community music making, composing a song for Betty White (first 10 seconds: https://youtu.be/yp0yf5PpqkA), and much more!
Ed Littlefield is a freelance percussionist, educator, and composer based out of Seattle, WA. He is Lingít from Sitka, Alaska and has released three albums featuring traditional native melodies, which he also arranged into the jazz idiom with the Native Jazz Quartet. This quartet represented the United States in South America as “Jazz Ambassadors” through the American Music Abroad program.
For film he composed a song for the 2009 Disney movie The Proposal for Betty White’s character and played the percussion score and consulted on indigenous music for the 2022 documentary Exposing Muybridge.
Ed has played K’alyaan in the world-premiere of Battles of Fire and Water by Dave Hunsaker and written and performed an original musical score for Eurydice by Sara Ruhl for Perseverance Theater in Juneau, Alaska. He has done sound design and composition for the world premieres of Our Voices Will Be Heard by Vera Starbard, and was the composer and cultural advisor for They Don’t Talk Back by Frank Katasse at Native voices at the Autry, La Jolla Playhouse and Perseverance Theater. He also did sound design for Off the Rails by Randy Reinholz at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Sovereignty by Mary Kathryn Nagle at Arena Stage. Most recently he composed the songs for a new play produced by the University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign called The Neverland by Madeline Sayet. Currently he is working on a three-year project to create the first ever Lingít opera. This project will combine traditional contemporary Lingít melodies inside the western opera genre and will also include an all-indigenous cast.
Ed is an active educator around the country, facilitating artist residencies for students and teachers to help them learn more about Lingít culture and music and traditional ways of knowing.