Indigenous in the News Featured Artist Review
In Glorious Day Us/We/Them, such a day, sunlit salvation on the seat of a Giant GTX and the songs of Brule on the I-pod. Oh Glory, Glory, Glory, the glitz and glammer of the star hammer on the head of the love of my life, the air and ambience of down town Minneapolis. The Collection, a greatest hits CD produced by Tom Bee and SOAR is nuage but it??™s Native American nuage, which means to me that it is therefore somehow authentic in a way that most nuage is not.
The song All My Relations starts with a voice over prayer on top of the nuage synth stuff. It contains a very recognizable piano melody. The title should have been mitakuye oyasin but it consists of a very Native American nuage coloring and tone quality that is very peaceful and includes traditional vocal over top. This song most certainly relates to the adopted child scenario of Paul??™s life, the beauty and wonder of a life that has gone full circle with the rediscovery of his biological and traditional Lakota family. It is a grand melody for a grand story.
The second track Spirit Horses starts with the spirit calling song of a sweat lodge ceremony in a voice over top an up-tempo rock beat with the melody played by a flute/synth. It includes the edgy guitar that I look for in music, as well as a rain stick and a traditional vocal with the light space air synth behind it all.
And Justice For All is a pledge of allegiance native style. The vocal melody is majestic and beautiful, like the Rockies or the Black Hills and the medicine rattle percussion really sets the sound apart giving the song space.
The song Celebration Of The Heart reminds me I have one of these every time I get on my bike and ride the Minneapolis streets. Once again this song has a very beautiful and colorful melody on synth as I scoot down the street in joyful hot dish potpourri celebration of time and memory and blood.
The song Stomp Dance??™ title is another name for a grass dance and this one swings, up-tempo with some beautiful traditional vocables over top with birdcalls. It evokes in me the hit Superstition by S. Wonder. It compels me to dance down the pedestrian bridge north of the Walker across the freeway through Loring Park to the Espresso Royale where I stop for my coffee.
The song The Chosen One begs the question is it Jesus or Wovoka? This song features some tender romantic acoustic piano intro riffing and I have to admit Paul LaRoche has a talent for the beautiful and melconcholy. He can somehow embody the grief of entire nations in a song and it is the nature of grief to seek healing which is the foundation on which this music is built.
The world is a village and it takes an entire village to raise a child. It is played in an up-tempo World music beat that has elements of a Caribbean flavor to it. We must never forget that the first contact between the cultures was with the arrival of Columbus not on the continent proper but in the Caribbean islands and the Taino and Carribe peoples that were massacred indiscriminately should most certainly never be forgotten. It feels like a multicultural chanting group hug. The airy Peruvian flute really puts this one over the top and it definitely swings.
Track fourteen Fast Horse reminds me of rollin??™ with the fast horse down the ave in a ??™70 merc Monterey with the slant roof, back window down, just smokin??™ and jokin??™, the rock n roll blastin??™ my heart into the dawn because we only as free as we want to be. This is something that Marcus would have dug as it rocks and swings with the traditional vocable over the top and it jams with passion with a hand clapping chorus. He has kept it simple and easy if anyone cares to sing along.
We end The Collection with the track Star People as I pull up in front of the house on Park Avenue. There is a theory that the stuff that began life on earth actually came here by way of a comet or meteor. This is a very cool way of ending the CD. This is almost house/dance music with flutes over a heavy rhythmic structure just made for dancing. The end brings it full circle by ending with a prayer as I end this review with mitakuye oyasin. All my relations people. All Of My Relations!