various artists,
Native Worlds:
Tribal Meetings, Cultural World
Music of the Americas

(Condor, 2001)

Native Worlds: Tribal Meetings is a collection of contemporary music that represents the different sounds and styles across the Americas. It contains nine artists or groups performing 15 selections. Most of these are long pieces, ranging above 5:00. The inside of the cover tells about each group and the CD from which their selection is taken.

To adequately review this CD, I need to comment on most of the selections because they are so different in composition, instruments and artists. Likewise, they elicit radically differing reactions from the listener. The name is quite appropriate since this collection is like several tribes coming together and voicing their musical styles.

"Messenger of Love" by Antara is a slow Andean piece that varies from staccato notes to a smooth, flowing rhythm. It is a relaxing piece that will calm your world. There is a layered effect with soft vocals in the background in a few places and multiple flutes that sometimes play in synch and sometime take opposing parts. There is great depth to this piece.

"Canyon Shadows" by Anhinga is from the debut release album by Gene Fritts and Sam Caldera. They cross traditional flute with contemporary rhythms to get a wonderful, moderately fast tempo and exciting flute melodies. "Guayusa and Coco" by Dave West is an Andean styled piece with a staccato, fast-paced flute melody supported by full accompaniment. The drumming is wonderful.

"World Pow Wow" by Eric Casillas has a delicate flute melody overlaid on traditional Mestizo percussion and vocals at the beginning. It changes into a fast tempo with just the bass guitar and awesome percussion. There are a wide variety of background sounds, including a wolf howling and birds chirping. He ends the piece with the flute, chanting and percussion slowing and fading to a wolf howl. This is my favorite of the selections on this CD. It is an outstanding piece for dancing and has some interesting rhythm changes.

"Sea Wolf and Sea Bear" by Konrad Rhee begins with waves crashing ashore and strings followed by a flute melody. This is a peaceful, tranquil tune with intriguing percussion. "The Cosmic Tree" by Native Flute ensemble is a delicate flute melody with only a diverse percussion accompaniment -- the most intriguing percussion on this CD. You really must hear it. "White Indian" by Wings of the Condor is an Andean piece with heavy guitar and percussion set to a moderate tempo. The vocals are extremely moving with a hummed-style. The cymbal crashes, though subdued, really captivate your attention. This is a spectacular piece.

"Rainbow Man" by Ben Teavera King gets the guitar award for this disc. His guitar is echoed by a synthesizer and supported by upbeat percussion. This one will rock you. It is a cross between Latino and Southwestern native. "Chulpara" by Antara demonstrates the Incan style with fast strings and flutes. They have a breathe-through technique that is out of this world. They pull out all the stops in this piece with barks, rips and a wide variety of techniques performed simultaneously by multiple flutes. The depth and layering of this piece will astound and mesmerize you. The variety of flutes is fascinating.

"Shaman's Drum" by Anhinga has a trill that will amaze you. This is a gorgeous piece, with heavy guitar accompaniment and wonderful percussion. The rattle really stands out. "Japipay" by Dave West starts with awesome vocals. It surprises you when the flute and guitar begin because they are a bit faster than you expected. It is really upbeat, yet a relaxing piece that soothes the soul. "Renewal Song" by Casillas combines a killer chant with prominent percussion and a beautiful flute melody. You will find yourself quickly chanting along with this one. Casillas has a nice voice and has mastered vocal techniques that will thrill you.

"The Whale Song" by Konrad Rhee is the slow, tranquil tune with orca sound effects. This is the most intriguing overall piece on the disc. While other selections had intriguing parts, this one is 100 percent intrigue in all its parts. "Medicine Flute Dance" by Ben Teavera King is a strongly layered piece with heavy percussion, synthesizer effects and multiple flutes. It is haunting. "Chichera" by Runas Quindig is an Ecuadorian Inca piece. It is extremely fast with heavy percussions and strings, multiple flutes and interesting background vocals.

This collection is a wonderful overview of the variety in contemporary native music. It contains the widest possible combination of instrumental effects, vocal effects, styles and tones. I highly recommend it and hope you will order a copy today.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 14 June 2003

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