Dazzling Sounds of Aboriginal America

Several recent releases show the rich traditions of Native Americans. Father and daughter duo Jay & Tiinesha Begaye. Showing the increasing influence of intertribal music, Tiinesha sings a combination of Canadian-style hand drumming with Dine (Navajo) social singing. Night of the Northern Lights is a tribute the Begayes pay to their Canadian aboriginal brothers, who taught Jay and Tiinesha the round dances.

World Music Network’s Think Global: Native America is an excellent sampler of current Native American and Canadian First Nations music from the plains, the Southwest, and the East Coast of North America. The collection includes the legendary flute playing of R. Carlos Nakai (Navajo-Ute), peyote songs, prayer songs, pow wow songs, harvest dances, and the well known voice of Buffy Sainte-Marie (Cree).

For a contemporary twist, check the melodic and cinematic CD by Anthony Wakeman and Mr. Soon. Wakeman (Pottawatomi/Oglala Lakota) plays Native American flutes and clay whistles. on Points of Origin the ancient is mixed wth Mr. Soon’s electronics, including minimalist guitar, keyboards and samples.


One of the most popular and prolific acts is Aboriginal American music is Northern Cree from western Canada. Their latest is  Northern Cree and Friends Dancin’ Til Sunrise, Vol. 7. The album features round dances recorded live. These social dances are filled with good humor.

For fans of pow wow music, there are new recordings. Elk Soldier drum group is formed by musicians from the Wisconsin area, including numerous tribes. The Elk Way was recorded live in Green Bay.

The other pow wow album is Scouts by Plains Cree group Warscout. This is also a live recording, captured at the 36th Annual Stanford University Pow-Wow.

Prophecy 2  is titled a Native Collection. This Hearts of Space compilation features the more ethereal side of Native American inspired music. Half of the artists are American Indians and the other half are musicians who are inspired by Native music or the southwest. The artists included are well known acts in the Native american and New Age field: Joanne Shenandoah Gary Malkin Peter Kater, Johnny Whitehorse, Jonn Serrie, Mary Youngblood, Ah-Nee-Mah, R.Carlos Nakai, William Eaton, John Huling, Coyote Oldman, and Joanne Shenandoah.