Cherokee National Children's Choir,
with Rita Coolidge,
Voices of the Creator's Children
(Cherokee Nation, 2001)

Voices of the Creator's Children is worship in my native tongue. This is the national choir from my nation offering their version of many well-known gospel favorites.

Our "poster girl" for singing, Rita Coolidge, is featured on this recording, and her performance on "Amazing Grace" is unequalled. Nobody does it better, especially unaccompanied -- she can tear this song up the way it should be torn up!

Amy Watkins is precious with her solo in "God's Children." She has the perfect voice to drive home the point of this song -- so little, petite and just plain cute. She does an outstanding job and should someday give Coolidge some serious competition as the Cherokee female singer.

"One Drop of Blood" illustrates how powerful the voices of these children really are. They can hold a note for a while -- at least they can hold it long enough for the other half of the choir to sing an entire phrase. I turn blue just trying to hold my breath for that long.

"Evening Song" is awesome. The wonderful singing is supported throughout by the evening sounds of nature. The most contemporary piece in this collection is "North Wind," featuring loads of sound effects that include the wind and a horse nickering.

My favorite song in this collection is a toss up between one of my lifelong favorites, "Beautiful Home," which is excellently presented in a round form with proper backup singing, and the one song here that features prominent bass and tenor voices, "Sunday School Song." Had those tenor and bass voices been used in "Beautiful Home," my choice would have been clear. I like it with more bottom notes.

The most powerful part of this CD is the "Intro to Orphan Child," a story by Choogie Kingfisher. I cried when I heard it and warn you that it is tremendously moving. It does remind us that songs are a gift from the Creator and can lift our spirits during times of great trial or suffering. Unfortunately, it also reminds us that one-quarter of our nation, including some of my ancestors, perished along the Trail of Tears.

The members of the Cherokee National Choir are: Holly Backwater, Rebecca Cook, Heather Crittenden, Alese Christie, Amanda Gibe, Devon Kirby, Kandra Liles, Haley Noe, Holly Noe, Ashley Proctor, Jon Ross, Kayla Sharp, Samantha Spiker and Amy Watkins.

OK, I admit that I am prejudiced because these are my people, but I love this CD and feel it is a top-notch collection of songs for listeners of all ages.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 22 May 2004

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