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People of the Willows
     

People of the Willows

 
This Native American-inspired album reaches far beyond the usual flutes, chants, and drums to paint a portrait of the Mandan and Hidasa tribes. Centered historically in villages along the upper Missouri River, much of the tribes' land is now underwater, and most of their people were wiped out by smallpox. Those who remain today live on a reservation in North Dakota.

Overview

This Native American-inspired album reaches far beyond the usual flutes, chants, and drums to paint a portrait of the Mandan and Hidasa tribes. Centered historically in villages along the upper Missouri River, much of the tribes' land is now underwater, and most of their people were wiped out by smallpox. Those who remain today live on a reservation in North Dakota. Many of their songs have been preserved through the efforts of Frances Densmore, and a few living links to the culture perform inspiringly: flutist/vocalist Keith Bear and singer Nellie Youpee. The spirit of these cultures and the soft flow of the river are brought to life by a variety of other talented contributors, as well. Native American flute player Gary Stroutsos and pianist Jovino Santos Neto have embraced the songs and the river territory with sophisticated, heartfelt arrangements. Neto's romantic flair on the piano is colored with tangy jazz stylings and fresh chord progressions. Cellist Walter Grey and the Pacific String Quartet add an earthy solidity to many of the pieces, while Stroutsos' solo flute clears the mind like a fresh breeze. The songs themselves are unique and rich: "The Enemy Came as a Wolf" is a women's victory song to shame the defeated enemy; "Dancing Song of the Skunk" is the theme song for a little girls' society; and "The Corn Is My Pleasure" was sung while working in the gardens to scare off birds, horses, and naughty boys. I can't imagine hearing a more radiant and respectful musical tribute to a people and its lands. The upbeat "Traces of Hope" ends the album with a delightful burst of freedom, just verging on gospel. Lovely!

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Heather Phares
People of the Willows collects work songs, warrior songs, and dances from the Mandan, Hidatsa, and other nations. Authentic recordings like "Woman's Work Song" are mixed with instrumentals like the title track, which blends piano, violin, guitar, and flute into Native American-inspired melodies. "Mandan Heartbreak Song" and "The Enemy Came as a Wolf" are also among the highlights of this collection of contemporary and traditional Native American music.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/28/1999
Label:
Makoche Records
UPC:
0703334014827
catalogNumber:
148

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Walter Gray   Cello
Simon James   Violin
Jovino Santos Neto   Piano,Keyboards
Daniel Protheroe   Flute,Percussion,Piano,Strings
Phil Sparks   Bass
Ella Marie Gray   Violin
Keith Bear   Flute,Voices
Gary Stroutsos   Flute,Bird Calls
David Swenson   Flute,Percussion,English Horn,Vocals
Epaminondas Trimis   Percussion
Deirdre Fay   English Horn
William Mitchell   Bass
Nellie Youpee   Percussion,Voices
Joe Gottesman   Viola
Zak Dewey   Flute,Percussion,Piano,Strings

Technical Credits

Jovino Santos Neto   Arranger,Liner Notes
Daniel Protheroe   Engineer
Gary Stroutsos   Arranger,Liner Notes
Stephanie Meisel   Art Direction
David Swenson   Producer,Liner Notes
Nellie Youpee   Liner Notes
Dayton Duncan   Liner Notes
Dave Swenson   Producer,Engineer

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