Since its inception, Indigenous has created an award-winning music video, toured with B.B. King, and had its sophomore release, Circle, produced and arranged by Doyle Bramhall, Sr.

Influenced by and often compared with legends like Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana, frontman Mato Nanji makes his third appearance at Playing with Fire. Led by the hard-driving guitar and soulful vocals, the band delivers dynamic live performances.

Since 2002, in addition to his own touring, Nanji performs as a member of the Experience Hendrix Tour, which features multiple blues guitar giants like Buddy Guy, Joe Satriani, and Eric Johnson.

BluesBlast magazine describes Nanji on his 2014 album, Time is Coming; “As he tears at his guitar strings, bending and shaking them to within an inch of their life, it is clear that Nanji is no mere copyist. He is a genuine virtuoso, playing lyrical and emotion-packed lines, sneaking in between vocal lines, underscoring the melodies, and flying over the solo sections.”

When they’re at PwF

The band, up close

  • Mato Nanji – Leader, lead guitar and vocals
  • Kurt Olson – Drums
  • Justin Cournoyer – Bass
  • American Horse – percussion

Just for PwF fans


  • Things We Do (Pachyderm Records, 1998)
  • Blues This Morning EP (Pachyderm Records, 1999)
  • Live at Pachyderm Studios (Pachyderm Records, 1999)
  • Circle (Pachyderm Records, 2000)
  • Indigenous (Zomba/Silvertone, 2003)
  • Long Way Home EP (Indigenous Records, 2005)
  • Chasing The Sun (Vanguard, 2006)
  • Broken Lands (Vanguard, 2008)
  • The Acoustic Sessions (2010)
  • Indigenous-Featuring Mato Nanji (Blues Bureau International, 2012)
  • Vanishing Americans (Blues Bureau International, 2013) 
  • Time Is Coming (Blues Bureau International, 2014)
  • Gray Skies (Blues Bureau International, 2017)

Insights from PwF Producer Jeff Davis about Indigenous

When did you first hear about the artist, or when did you first hear them perform?

Rick Galusha, host of Pacific Street Blues, first turned me onto Indigenous. The band first played PwF on June 14, 2008. Band leader, Mato Nanjo, preformed with Otis Taylor at PwF, July 13, 2013.

What is it about the artist that made you select them for the 2019 PwF concert series?

Thought their style of music would segue perfectly with the bands already booked. Plus, Mato has not been on our stage for five years.

How would you describe the artist’s sound?

Indigenous has been compared to Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Do you think the artist’s sound is similar to any other artist (not performing this year)? If so, who?

What’s appealing to me is Mato’s voice is so different from any other blues rock vocalist.  

Anything about the artist that we wouldn’t find online?

Blues This Morning and Eagle Heart are my two favorite Indigenous songs. Think they show the range of Mato’s talent.

Where you can hear them online

One of the artist’s favorite songs

Follow them on social media

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