MUSIC REVIEWS
By Chuck Diliberto

 

 

Ancient Power
Steve Gordon Deborah Martin
Sequoia Records / Spotted Peccary Music

The horizon stretches out in front of us, beckoning the new millennium and beyond. In this scenario of contrasting beauty with the uncertainty of the unknown, Steve Gordon and Deborah Martin bring us the haunting refrain of "Ancient Power".

The music is distinctly Native American. Deer claws and turtle rattles reawaken a sense of organic unity within. Various native flutes carry ethereal melodies through clouds and smoke, soaring, rising, and descending. The music confronts us with a power that originates from time eternal.

The majesty that is inherent in rich cultural music is defined and redefined by Gordon and Martin. The use of guitar and synthesizers is a modern complement to the ritual expressionism of the music. These fine players are very conscientious of the root and truth of this ancient music. In this knowledge, their own creativity is used as a personal statement to further the soul and dynamics of the sound. A wonderful synthesis of new ideas and established traditions has brought the music into the current moment. This moment is happening now; a full circle of Spiritual Evolution, capturing the wisdom of the ancients with the proffering of today's Spiritually awakened.

"Ancient Power" is a breakthrough in the consciousness of today. There is no coincidence that the music of our forefathers still holds the same meaning today. Steve Gordon and Deborah Martin have poured their hearts and souls into sharing a special gift they have received. This gift belongs to all of us, a blessing indeed.

For more information, call (800) 778-8777.

 

Native American Music
The Rough Guide
Various Artists
No Problem Productions

This compilation of songs is quelled from eighteen different compact discs. The musicians are all Native Americans, and the music ranges from straightforward traditional chants to neo-contemporary rhythms and beats. The tone is consistently indigenous, regardless of the instruments used or the pace of the songs.

This "Rough Guide" is a showcase of soulfulness and emotional expressiveness. It is not unusual to hear a song that could easily fit into a radio format followed by a traditional healing chant. There are also some unique selections. The artists "Southern Scratch" play a form of dance music that is akin to the European polka style. The Tohono O'odham tribe of southern Arizona has been playing this music for over a century, reflecting Mexican and European influences. The band "Without Rezer-vation" chose rap music to discuss the historical oppression of Native Americans.

This fascinating diversity of music allows for a wider insight into the cultures of Native Americans. It is hard imagining that at one time the American government imposed genocide, or ethnic cleansing if you will, upon the true inhabitants of North America. Through this music, we are able to recognize the sensitivity and creativity that was an integral part of these indigenous peoples day to day life. Their Spirit is living and growing, winding its way through this benchmark collection of compositions. A fine addition to anyone's music library.

For more information, call (201) 433-3907.

 

Native American Meditations
We Are All Related
Mitakuye Oyasin New World Music

The nearing millennium is being received with a guarded, anxious anticipation of what is to come. The bottom line to this somewhat ominous wait lies in a remedial search for answers. In "Native American Meditations" the answers lie in the interrelatedness of Man, Earth and the Universe. The remarkable truth to the conundrum of life has led most of us to the teachings of Eastern and Zen mysticism. We no longer have to look beyond the American continent to find these pearls of wisdom. The Spirit of Native American teachings has become very close and permeable.

The Native American culture derives some of its history concurrent with the Manifest Destiny period of America's growth. This period was wrought with upheavals, enforced changes and suffering. It was through this era that Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse were at the peak of their Spiritual journeys. Their messages have been narrated and put to tribal music. This effectually reconnects the original setting where these truths were conveyed. Powerful stuff indeed.

The messages shared here are of a great knowing of the well being and harmony of all living beings. The structural understanding of the wisdom of the karmic propriety between man and his environment, his fellow humankind, and his relationship to the Great Spirit is also explored. Levels of knowledge pertaining to instances of trans-dimensional experience and growth, the symbiosis of cosmic and divine synthesis, and the natural grasp of mortality without fear, forms a body of wisdom that can be greatly utilized at this time in our shared history.

This CD represents an invisible lifeline being exchanged between cultures.

For more information, call (888) 476-8745.

 

 

One Voice / "Songs to Carry Our Souls Together"
Standing Deer White Wing Productions
It is often through our natural experience we are led to the deeper truths of being. In this light, I sat on my porch listening to "One Voice". The song "Giving Life", honoring existence and our connection to rain was playing. It was at this moment I noticed various birds were beginning to flock, chirping and flapping their wings in an odd form of communication. When I placed the music on hold, the birds flew away.

This is the power, grace, and interrelatedness Standing Deer has tapped into for "One Voice". The music is the simplistic beating of a tribal drum. The heart beat, the pulse, of a meditative state that is entered. In this state answers to the quandaries of human existence are gracefully exchanged and brought back to the Earth plane of consciousness. Standing Deer acts as the conduit, or healer for these messages. Each song has a short narration explaining the focus, direction, and intent of the song.

The feelings and consciousness purveyed are all subtle and intuitive. With closed eyes, we journey with Standing Deer to the other side. Just as the birds reacted to something unseen, the same connective feeling to an invisible, greater whole is presented to the listener. This experience is similar to a trance state, yet, with more clarity and groundedness.

Standing Deer is a member of the "Tiwa" tribe in Taos, New Mexico. His heritage, not unlike other Native Americans, is rich with divine Spiritual interaction. This music has synchronistically found its way into the mainstream flow of consciousness. Maybe, this time, we will listen to our ancestors with open hearts and minds, actually taking the time needed to understand and develop a Spiritual nature. In Standing Deer's life, a testament to all things Spiritual, we can learn a lot about ourselves.

For more info write to: P. O. Box 146, Yorba Linda, CA 92686-0146.

 

 

Spirit of the Redman
Volume I
John Richardson
New World Music

John Richardson has long been known for his use of music as an alternative therapy for healing and relaxation. He has worked with mantras and devotional chants to deepen his own and his listeners consciousness. In "Spirit of the Redman" / Volume I, Richardson explores a layering of dynamic tones and vocal phrasings to capture the soul of Native American peoples. His music is a fusion of international styles. Traditional cultural music is Spiritual in nature, allowing Richardson the base from which to expand into the realm of Native American ritual chants.

The music is unique, fresh, and with a broad appeal. Richardson varies somewhat from the true format of indigenous music; yet, he still maintains enough of the flavor (Spirit) to remain true to the Native American sensibility. It is very intriguing listening to John Richardson's musical vision. There is a joyous undertone, playful in nature, and unlimited in its interaction of ambient sounds and non-traditional beats and rhythms.

This CD consists of two long pieces, "Song of the Earth", and "Song of the Wind'. The music unfurls as a tone poem, putting to music the inherent messages of the song's main themes. Here, again. Richardson applies his own creative prerogative to interpret the meaning of the Native American's soul's message. He shares an interesting perspective based on his own insight of Spirituality. The fact that he chose Native American music to frame his perspective is no coincidence. The merging of their culture with the settler's of this country's culture is coming full circle.

For more information, call (888) 476-8745.

 

 

Spirit of the Redman
Volume II

John Richardson
New World Music

In Volume II, John Richardson completes the circle with "Song of the Water" and "Song of Fire". The four elements, Earth, Wind, Water, and Fire are important symbols in the cosmic hierarchy. They represent man's relationship to the Universe through physically recognizable realities.

The musical approach is similar to that in Volume I. Richardson continues to explore and interpret the meanings of the main themes. In "Song of the Water", a constant storm appears to be rising, waves are crashing, torrents of water can be heard sloshing and rushing about. As the storm subsides, the pace and feel of the music changes accordingly. In the quiet moments, Richardson conveys a natural feeling. All is wonderful, completing the cycle, to start anew again. In "Song of Fire", the flames are raging as the sounds of wood crackling and burning is heard. Richardson explores the ethereal meaning of "Fire" from this background.

Overall, John Richardson, has offered an ambitious project. It is not actually a pure Native American statement. There are enough other influences to homogenize his effort, yet, by itself, the music is pleasing and the vocals enchanting.

For more information, call (888) 476-8745.

Chuck Diliberto is a resident of New York State. Having written for a hometown publication that covered local and national musicians, reviewing CDs is an extension of that experience. His main interests are spiritual in nature and right living in practice.


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