the Governor's Arts Award Winners

Robert Mirabal


2014 recipient, Individual Artist

Robert Mirabal, musician, has been described as a Native American Renaissance Man. The world-renowned musician is also a composer, painter, master craftsman, poet, actor, screenwriter, horseman, and farmer, who is dedicated to keeping alive the centuries-old customs of Taos Pueblo. A GRAMMY-award winning musician, Mirabal is a leading proponent of World Music and has merged his Indigenous American sound with the music of Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean, tapping into a planetary pulse with a style that defies categorization. Mirabal is a two-time Native American Artist of the Year and his 2002 breakthrough PBS Special, Music from a Painted Cave, is unsurpassed in Native American theatrical expression. He is also the author of A Skeleton of a Bridge, a book of poetry, prose, and short stories, and Running Alone, a photographic memoir laced with gritty introspective prose that opens a window to Pueblo life through the voice of his alter ego Reyes Winds. Mirabal bought his first flute when he was 18 with money he borrowed from his grandmother and shortly afterward he had the opportunity to meet Native American flute player R. Carlos Nakai, who greatly influenced him. David Schwartz, chairman of the New Mexico Music Commission said, "Robert is a gifted and visionary musician who has taken on the important task of representing Native American music in not only an authentic way, but in a way that brings its message and beauty into the present and future as part of New Mexico's world conscious musical culture. His musical mastery reflects not only a preservationist's approach to traditional Native music, but an innovator's vision for the music of the future."