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John-Carlos Perea

JOHN-CARLOS PEREA Electric Bass Guitar, Northern Plains Pow-Wow Vocals, Cedar Flute

Grammy-winning pow-wow singer and cedar flutist John-Carlos Perea (Mescalero Apache, Irish, German) was born in Dulce, New Mexico and raised in San Francisco, California. He received his BA in Music from San Francisco State University in 2000, studying electric bass with David Motto and ethnomusicology with Dr. Hafez Modirzadeh. During his time at San Francisco State, Perea also studied Northern style pow-wow music with Dr. Bernard Hoehner-Peji and sang with the Blue Horse Singers, Dr. Hoehner-Peji’s pow-wow drum group. Perea released his first CD, “First Dance” (, in 2001 and since then has performed alongside many eminent American Indian artists including Joy Harjo, Charlie Hill, and Sandra Osawa. In addition to leading his own quintet and performing with San Francisco-based ensembles such as Francis Wong’s Gathering Of Ancestors and Dr. Loco y sus Tiburones del Norte, Perea co-leads the Sweetwater Singers, a Northern Plains intertribal pow-wow drum.

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”this album feels like the late Jim Pepper’s Comin’ and Goin'...” -Thom Jurek, All Music Guide

“First Dance is a forcefully political CD, and yet a highly personal statement for Perea.” -Bill Siegel,

“On his debut album First Dance, electric bassist John-Carlos Perea stirs up a smooth, fat sound with a lyrical drive that transcends jazz fusion clichés… to forge a new kind of multiethnic groove.” -Sam Prestianni, SF Weekly

“Unique and unlikely, Perea merges American Indian powwow and traditional Irish music with echoes of experimental jazz to explore his many-layered heritage.” -Amber Adrian, SF Weekly

Primary Instrument

Bass, electric


San Francisco


I’ve held teaching positions at San Francisco State University, the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University. Hours and rates are available upon request.