By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jan 07, 2003 at 5:26 AM

Milwaukee-based musician, composer and producer Peter Buffett recently released his latest project, "Ojibwe -- Waasa Inaabidaa (We Look In All Directions)," the soundtrack to a documentary of the same name.

The Emmy Award-winning Buffett has scored other films, most notably the PBS special and concert series, "Spirit," which drew inspiration from Native American themes, and Kevin Costner's Academy Award-winning picture, "Dances With Wolves."

Last year, the wide-ranging Buffett, released a compilation of projects recorded with other Milwaukee musicians -- like Paul Cebar and Goran Kralj, among others -- under the title, "Songs from an Eastside Attic." He was also the moving force behind Comet 9, an alternative rock band that released an LP on the now-defunct Don't Records in the mid-1990s.

He's back on familiar territory on "Ojibwe," though, as he deftly blends modern sounds with traditional rhythms and songs. Not simply a solo project, Buffett makes this music with collaborators from a number of Ojibwe singers and poets, including Dorothy Sam, Einona LaDuke, Tom Maulson, Walt Bresette, Dr. Rick St. Germaine, Ernie St. Germaine, Pete Gahbow, Lisa Jackson, Tom Benjamin, Lyz Jaakola and Nick Hockings.


"This is a project I got involved in about three years ago," says Buffett. "That's the nature of long documentaries on PBS. The CD evolved out of a six-hour series on the Ojibwe people. I was able to meet and record some of the performers in Minneapolis while I was on tour with 'Spirit' in 1999. While the television series used the original performances for the most part -- without additional production -- I saw the CD as another opportunity to create a hybrid sound -- combining my production style with traditional songs."

Not content to sell his hybrid to the highest bidder, Buffett also now runs his own label and studio, called Bison Head.

"It was the first full-length CD I created in my new studio environment -- all computers, no giant machinery! That was really exciting for me," Buffett says. "I'm happy with the final product because it represents another step on a variety of evolutionary fronts -- from the equipment used through the approach I took with protecting the integrity of the original performance while augmenting their context entirely."

,"Ojibwe -- Waasa Inaabidaa (We Look In All Directions)" can be purchased via the Bison Head Web site,

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.