WASHINGTON, DC— A Henderson, Nevada singer songwriter has received the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. Suni Paz is one of ten recipients of the 2020 National Heritage Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Paz is one of the first artists to bring the nueva canción tradition—the “new song” music of the 1960s and 1970s—to North American audiences, Paz’s work as an American songwriter and performer of Latin American folk music has resonated as a cultural force engaging people of all backgrounds and ages.
Paz’s instruments include the Spanish guitar, the Andean charango, the Columbian caja, the Argentinian bombo legüero, Caribbean guiro, and maracas. She has recorded more than 500 songs for children and performed alongside American icons such as Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Don McClean, and Phil Ochs, to name a few, and at Madison Square Garden with El Grupo.
The National Heritage Fellowships are lifetime honor awards of $25,000 and are given in recognition of both artistic excellence and efforts to sustain cultural traditions for future generations. The annual celebration of the new class of National Heritage Fellows will take place virtually this year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. More information about this event, including the date, will be available at a later time.
The 2020 National Heritage Fellows are:
- William Bell, Soul Singer and Songwriter from Atlanta, Georgia
- Onnik Dinkjian, Armenian Folk and Liturgical Singer from Fort Lee, New Jersey
- Zakarya and Naomi Diouf, West African Diasporic Dancers from Oakland/Castro Valley, California
- Karen Ann Hoffman (Oneida Nation of Wisconsin), Iroquois Raised Beadworker from Stevens Point, Wisconsin
- Los Matachines de la Santa Cruz de la Ladrillera, Traditional Religious Dancers from Laredo, Texas
- John Morris, Old-Time Fiddler and Banjo Player from Ivydale, West Virginia
- Suni Paz, Nueva Canción Singer and Songwriter from Henderson, Nevada
- Wayne Valliere (Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe), Birchbark Canoe Builder from Waaswaaganing (Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin)
- Hugo N. Morales, Radio Producer and Radio Network Builder from Fresno, California