various artists,
Hearts, Hands & Hides:
A Shamanic Journey into
Native Drumming of the Americas

(Condor, 1997)

Hearts, Hands, & Hides is a collection of contemporary Native American music selections by various artists with an emphasis on widely varied drumming and percussion techniques. The drumming ranges from traditional Native American to tropical rainforest to Cuban and African. As these styles are assimilated into Native American music, radically new sounds are emerging for an entirely new style of native music for the next generation.

"Night Before Sundance" by Peter "Wyoming" Bender is a layered, multi-faceted piece that includes vocals, flute, percussion, nature sounds and synthesizer support. With a slow tempo and soft background chanting, it will soothe your soul and ease your tensions after a difficult day. It has a beautiful fading chant at the end.

"Ya-Ta-Hey" by Eric Casillas has a multi-layered percussion composition that sends you to feet in dance! You cannot be still while listening to this selection. It rocks you from the soul outward. There is a sudden changeup with a drum breakdown that is otherworldly! The bass drum is resounding with a fading echo effect that will mesmerize you. When this plays, I feel like a snake being charmed. Another drum breakdown brings the tempo back to the original with an added emphasis on the rolling drums. Eric's chanting remains in the background throughout this piece until the end. It is the perfect addition to the composition. This is my favorite on this CD. I could set it on "repeat" and never get tired of it.

"Invoking the Hawk's Spirit" by Mesa Music Consort has a synthesizer composition that gives the piece a mysterious tone. Heavy nature sounds and drums are the ideal complement to the occasional flute solos. They frame the flute quite well. "Flute Song" by Marilyn Rife with Alice Gomez has a killer drum alternating with the flute, with both supported by multi-layered accompaniment. This is one that you have to hear. It is a moderately slow tune that has a dramatic effect.

"Road Opener" by Eric Casillas has a flute melody that incorporates many of the traditional techniques, such as rips and staccato notes, with an interesting percussion composition. The cymbal work is so intriguing! This one had me dancing all over the house. "Drum Quest" by Native Flute Ensemble starts with an extremely slow synthesizer and flute melody, picking up several layers of percussion. This is another hypnotic piece. It is a great one to put on "repeat" while you meditate. It is definitely a journeying song!

Wow! What a collection of music! This is one CD that you certainly do not want to miss. I loved every selection and listened to it several times. I have played it as background music while I work. It is energizing and uplifting, yet soothing and relaxing. The percussion seems to help focus your mind on your tasks. If you are sensitive to musical vibrations and your surroundings, you can adjust the effect of these selections by altering your immediate surroundings. Turn off the lights and take a reclining position and you will receive more of the soothing effect. Play it as background for work and you will feel the energizing power. Get this one and experiment with all the effects!

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 19 July 2003

Buy it from