Connecticut musician and Tanka fan up for a Nammy

September 02, 2011

Connecticut musician and Tanka fan up for a Nammy

Here at Tanka we know we have a very diverse audience that we connect with via Facebook, Twitter and MySpace every day -- some of which are musicians and we thought it would be great to periodically highlight our fans in music. If you would like to be featured, or would like to suggest someone we should feature, please email

Marco Frucht is a poet, songwriter, folksinger and classical guitarist who is a big fan of Tanka Bar. He participated in early test marketing for our products. Marco grew up in Groton, CT, and also lived on a Navajo reservation where he said he "had several life changing experiences. Not just in how to live a life but how to see that life being lived."

He is currently up for a Native American Music Award for his song "Frybread" in the category of "Native Heart," which is a non-Native category, because he has no tribal affiliation. His family background includes black and white Russian Jews from different parts of the Caucausus Mountains on his father's side and Swedish heritage from his mother's side.

"I've been volunteering for the Nammys since the first one in '98 at
Foxwoods and offering online publicist work pro bono all the years when I couldn't afford to actually go and attend," Marco said. "At the 5th annual I was
stage manager and staff etc., and started joining the Advisory Board every year after that."

Marco Frucht with the late Native actor Floyd Red Crow Westerman

His song "Frybread" was never eligible before this year, he said, because he didn't
have it on a commercial record.

"It was only on a demo I cut a while back. But leading up to last winter and the winter before, I donated it as an mp3 download with half of the 70 cents (after Apple takes their 29-cent cut) going to Haiti relief and half going to Pine Ridge [Indian reservation]," he said. "It got the majority of the downloads for three months in a row! So this past March I cut my first actual commercial CD and included that song..."

We sent Marco some questions about his music and performances. Our interview with him is below.

Tanka Bar: Who/what influences your music?

Marco Fruct: Everything I've ever heard or seen I try to remember and consider how I might use musically. I listened to everything from old Duane Eddy and Burl Ives records my dad had lying around to Woody Guthrie, Roger
Miller, Laura Nyro, the Violent Femmes and the Ramones and on through
Black Sabbath, Richie Havens...Even Melanie, Pete Seeger, Andres Segovia and Carlos Santana.

TB: How would you describe your music/sound?

MF: Guitar and vocals with almost nothing else. Lyrics seasoned through a very long time hoping to carry many meanings. I don't fit well in genres but people have tried to label me folk, punk, Americana and indy before.

TB: How often do you practice and perform?

MF: Every day I play and sing some. Many days I try to do nothing but
music, which isn't always possible because of economics, I'm afraid.

TB: What is the craziest thing a fan did at one of your concerts?

MF: While busking at an amusement park I watched a little girl fold up a 1-dollar bill into an origami bow-tie and place it into the guitar case as a tip; she waited patiently to make eye contact and show me that it was there and smiled and nodded. Some other things might have seemed more "weird," but that was so off the beaten path that I will never forget it as long as I live.

TB: How do you stay connected to your community?

MF: These days it's pretty much just Facebook and Reverbnation.

TB: How are you using social media to gain exposure?

MF: The accidental discovery within Reverb Nation is quite similar to old back in the day. You can find your way around for bands and artists doing things similar to what you're working on and find out where they're playing or what albums are coming out. The more straightforward networking is being done personally inside of Facebook, I think. More often than not, lately, people reach me there instead of email and phone.

TB: What are your goals for your musical career?

MF: Some of my more important lyrics, such as from my song "Frybread" or
"Hey Mon," are just waiting for me to figure out they can travel to places that a record contract or a TV appearance just won't ever reach. I'd love to have just enough cash flow some day to devote more of each day to writing and singing and less time to paying each next bill.

TB: What funny or interesting routines do you go through before going
on stage?

MF: If I'm too nervous for words at a gig, I've been known to wear my
Mickey Mouse house shoes to try and take the focus off my face or hands. I consume a tiny piece of Osha root (sometimes called bitter root) from near the Menominee reservation whenever I'm about to sing in front of people. It is even better than honey and lemon for making and keeping your throat "golden." Johnny Cash used to swear by it and wrote in several autobiographies that he's had shows which he'd have to cancel because of really bad laryngitis if he didn't have bitter root to suck on before the show.

We wish Marco Frucht good luck as he strives for his Nammy in October!

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