'We were there': Joy Harjo on the forgotten origins of jazz

'Crazy Brave' by Joy Harjo
'Crazy Brave' by Joy Harjo
Courtesy of W.W. Norton

Joy Harjo is overwhelmed. The musician, poet and artist is trying to tell the story of the origin of American music in a single new play. The working title is "We Were There When Jazz Was Invented."

"One of the reasons for the play ... was to restore southeastern native people to the origin story of American music — of blues, jazz, rock," Harjo said.

Harjo spoke with MPR News host Kerri Miller about the play, her memoir "Crazy Brave," the impact music has had on her career, and what it means to be a mother and an artist.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.