Tribal Channel

One-quarter Native American, full-time woodworking craftsman, and partially off his rocker, Lyell Is a perfect blend of tree-hugging liberalism and pragmatic don’t tread on me conservatism that you can only find in someone born and bred in Alaska.

Dinner with him is a free-ranging discussion, his depth of knowledge impressive or questionable depending on your gullibility. Prone to flamboyant hand gestures or jumping from his seat to demonstrate how a cougar he once saw out his back porch was crouching. When the topic turns to First Nations traditions and songs a skin on frame hand drum magically appears (which he made of course) as if he knew all along the evening conversation would require just such an instrument.

As the famous rock photographer, Jim Marshall once said “ getting close is the key.” For me spending time with someone is the only way to really get close. Close enough to bring the camera to your eye at two feet away and have the subject not care.

In this case Lyell never skipped a beat as he channeled his ancestral voice bringing tribal sounds into a modern world.