various artists,
Pueblo Songs From
San Juan, New Mexico

(Canyon, 1997)

The San Juan Pueblo is one of the oldest cultures in North America. Pueblo Songs from San Juan, New Mexico is a collection of their traditional songs about their lives and activities. It is Volume 4 in the Canyon Records Vintage Collection. It is available as a single or as part of the set.

The songs all feature powerful rattles and bells. The drum is most prominent in the "Cloud Dance Song" and is not distinguishable in the "Evening Dance." The selections run the entire range between these two extremes. The "Cloud Dance Song" is my favorite because it has interesting rhythm changes and rattle rolls. The singing throughout is beautiful. The singers are in ideal synch and their voices complement each other. The have interesting endings for all the songs.

The inside of the cover tells about the history and culture of the San Juan Pueblo and devotes a section to each of the songs that tells the history and significance of the song and dance. It explains about the regalia worn by the dancers and how they execute the dance. This is a wonderfully enlightening piece of literature.

The songs included on this CD are "Evening Dance," "Turtle Dance," "Cloud Dance Song," "Summer Buffalo Dance," "Winter Buffalo Dance," "Basket Dance," "Butterfly Dance," "Peace-Pipe Dance" and "Eagle Dance." Performances are by Peter V. Aguino, Juan J. Aguino, Carpio Trujillo, Joe M. Abeyta and Diego Aguino.

These songs are all exceptional! The constant changes in the percussion and rhythm will keep your interest peaked and pull you into the singing. This collection seems to just fly by and end abruptly. Chances are that you will play it again immediately, because it seems like it only lasts for five minutes or so. It is a wonderful musical treat and should be in every music lover's collection.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 26 July 2003

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