Our American Journeyby Chanticleer
Chanticleer's Our American Journey offers several things to marvel at. First of all, there is the richness and variety of the repertory, which extends from traditional songs to contemporary works, and from unknown gems of the Mexican Baroque to popular favorites by Stephen Foster and George Gershwin. Then there's the intelligence of the programming -- the way all this musical diversity flows and coalesces into a satisfying whole. But surely the greatest marvel is the singing of Chanticleer itself. The purity and warm intensity of their tone is simply awe inspiring; there's nothing else like it in the vast world of choral singing. And their stylistic flexibility is equally astounding: Compare, for example, the bright, sinewy sound they give to A. M. Cagle's "Soar Away" (and note the nasal accent) with the smooth, sophisticated swing of the jazz standard "Willow Weep for Me." In fact, Our American Journey is a perfect snapshot of Chanticleer's large repertory, and if you find one area particularly compelling, it's a safe bet that the group has already devoted a recording to it -- try, for starters, Magnificat and Mexican Baroque for early music, Wondrous Love for traditional songs, Colors of Love for contemporary compositions, Where the Sun Will Never Go Down for spirituals, and Lost in the Stars for pop standards.
- Release Date:
- Warner Classics
Performance CreditsChanticleer Primary Artist
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This is the first album I have purchased that contains pure choir singing in it. I gave me a great first impression on choir music. It also strangly makes me focus more when I do my U.S. History Homework.
-==- THE UN-COVERED WAGON -==- Chanticleer is amazing! I'm the composer of "Un-Covered Wagon" and I must say they performed it in a spectacular way. The piece is not easy. The text is sung entirely in Mohican with American Indian "vocables" that tell of the existential reciprocity Indians have with the earth: Ka Akai ke scheech ko naap (You Earth make us) / Nenangpe ke scheech ko wa (We People make you) / Po ma yik (We all live here) / Ga mao we (Always, Ever). -==- One of the first epic Western films "The Covered Wagon" (Paramount, 1923), based on Emerson Hough's novel, portrays the pioneers crossing what they saw as an open territory free-for-the-taking. But obviously, there were other people already living in this so-called "untamed wilderness" -- The Indians. -==- I am struck by how one-sided this American expansion is continually portrayed, not only for the old B/W era, but in today's America too. America creates and sustains an unenlightened legacy of trampling across the continent for it's own uses. Sanctioned by all sorts of religious dispensations where a glorious "end of time" reigns care-free and supreme, like protective salvation, this ratified conquering is highly prevalent even today. -==- I wrote the "Un-Covered Wagon" in order to uncover an alternate view -- that America was never empty nor free for the taking at all. The American continent has always been filled with others, people, stories and history, and has been known as intimately as a familiar footpath shared daily by humans and animals alike -- long before America existed. To reveal this musically, I super-imposed a racist hymn, "Faith of Our Fathers," one half-step apart in tuning from an Indian background to create a new way of hearing that hymn. Chanticleer performs this difficult passage flawlessly and the effect is spooky and surreal. The end of the work calls for three different Indian singing styles to be super-imposed upon each other, and all can be heard clear as a bell in Chanticleer's spectacular performance. I am deeply proud of both the work and Chanticleer's performance of it. -==- "Un-Covered Wagon," as music and message, urges us to reconsider the seasoned and intelligent tradition of keeping good familial relationships with the earth -- that may in fact suit us better -- and to finally strip that out-dated chuck wagon called progress. Life is for sharing, not controlling. -==- With Respect, Brent Michael Davids, Mohican Nation