Native American Music Award winner, Randy McGinnis is a passionate advocate of Native American flute music. Randy is of Cherokee decent. He grew up in Southern Ohio where he learned the values, traditions and language of his native culture. His ancestors left North Carolina prior to the Trail of Tears and settled in Kentucky before eventually moving into Southern Ohio. The songs he plays on his Native American flute are from the old songs he grew up listening to as a small boy. Randy’s style of playing has been described as “playing from the heart.”
When Randy shares his art, it not only includes incredibly beautiful music, but he brings a rich history of his Cherokee people to his performances. He includes the beautiful Cherokee language in his performances, often wearing his traditional regalia on stage. He is committed to doing his part to keep the Cherokee language and culture alive and has assisted in teaching it to many people.
Randy founded the Smoky Mountain Flute Circle in Townsend, Tennessee and was presented a prestigious award from famed Native American flutist R. Carlos Nakai for the promotion, preservation, and education of the Native American flute. He served on the Advisory Board for the International Native American Flute Association and was on the Board of Directors for the Renaissance of the Native American Flute. Randy also served on the Board of Directors for the Smokey Mountain Heritage Center. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Flute Tree Foundation.
Randy founded Echota Technologies Corporation in 1997. Echota was certified by the Small Business Administration as a Native American 8a corporation. He served as President and Chief Executive Officer until he sold the company. The Department of Defense Nunn-Perry Award was given to Randy in 2006. In 2008, Randy was the winner of the Tennessee Minority Small Business of the Year and in 2009 won the Tennessee Small Business Person of the Year.
Randy is passionate about passing on the traditional skills of playing the Native American Flute. He has taught thousands of adults and children the joy of this beautiful instrument. Along with the Smokey Mountain Flute Circle in Townsend, Tennessee, Randy founded a school program called Ancient Voices. This program taught underprivileged children, both Native American and non-native, to play the flute. Each child was given a flute of their own to take home.
Current CD’s by Randy include: “Ancient Voices of the Smoky Mountains,” “Walking with the Spirits,” “The Water Place,” and “Smokey Mountain Dreams.” The “Walking with the Spirits” album, which featured Knoxville Symphony Orchestra violinist, Lucy Carlson, won a 2010 Native American Music Award (NAMA) for Best Compilation Album. “The Water Place” album was submitted in 2011 for a Grammy nomination. Over the years, he has been nominated numerous times for various NAMA awards. In 2015 he was nominated for the NAMA Male Artist of the Year.
Randy recorded in his own studio, Deer Star Productions, which he founded in 2008. In addition to solo performances, he has performed with other flutists, violinists, cellists, guitarists and many other instruments.