Old and New Native America

Johnny Whitehorse – Johnny Whitehorse (Silver Wave Records SD943, 2006)

Various Artists – Waila! (Canyon Records Cr-6085, 2005) and The American Indians play Waila (Canyon Records CR-6120, 2006)

A. Paul Ortega – Two Worlds Three Worlds (Canyon Records CR-7077, 2006)

Johnny Whitehorse is not a new artist, but rather a character creation of Robert Mirabal. Multi-instrumentalist Robert Mirabal is known for his adventurous fusions of American Indian sounds with rock and other genres. His Johnny Whitehorse CD is a primarily instrumental work, featuring tribal drums and native flutes. A lot of instrumental Native American music has a tendency to drift towards new age and Johnny Whitehorse gets very close. The overall result is a cinematic soundscape with echoes of the American Southwest.

Canyon Records is well known for its contemporary recordings of Native music from the Americas. Now it is also releasing remastered historical recordings, such as Waila! and The American Indians play Waila. Waila is a musical style that was very y popular in the Southwest among American Indians. Waila is also known as chicken scratch.

The chicken scratch sound is the result of Southwestern and European influences. Accordion-driven polkas and mazurcas mixed with electric guitar and a solid rhythm section. the music is also similar to Southwestern Hispanic music, such as grupero and tejano music.

Another Canyon reissue is Two Worlds Three Worlds by A. Paul Ortega. The new CD combines two LPs from the late 1960s, Two Worlds (1969) and Three Worlds (1969).

A. Paul Ortega, a Mescalero Apache, introduced in the late 1960s a bluesy style of to American Indian music, performing with guitar, harmonica and bass. The lyrics told stories about Native American culture.