The Soul of the Apache Flute

Andrew Vasquez – TogoTogo (Makoché Music, 2004)

Andrew Vasquez’s Togobegs to be more than just background music and instead evokes a musical scenery that is soothing and haunting. Member of the Apache Tribe of Oklahoma (though his home is in North Dakota), Vasquez has a rich history of keeping alive the traditions of Native Americans through dance, music and film, not to mention receiving nominations and awards for his previous three CDs.

The title track “Togo” launches the listener into a journey filled with Vasquez’s soulful flute playing, some chunky back up beat and bass and the sounds of Vasquez’s children and grandchildren.

Vasquez doesn’t travel this road alone. He rounds out is mix of traditional and modern with environmental sounds and Jovino Santos Neto on keyboards, Joe Hagele on percussion, Doug Klein on bass and David Swenson on guitar, keyboards and percussion.

The track “Spirit Eyes” takes the simplicity of flute and percussion and invites the listener to follow the subtle changes as one would quietly mark the passage of the sun during the day.

Vasquez’s flute playing is the call of the all the elements with each composition rooted heavily in the traditional and some not so traditional rhythms. In some of the flute CDs I’ve heard all the songs tend to sound the same but tracks on Togo like “Morning Sun,” Night Shadows,” “Wild Horses” and “Cry for a Vision” offer beautiful and varied journeys.

The liner notes offer up more insight into each song. For instance, the story behind “Morning Sun” goes like this: “It is said that the sky had no day because a chief in the clouds kept the sun in a box. One day, a raven found a hole in the sky and entered the place where the chief lived. He disguised himself as a child and befriended the chief’s daughter. The raven begged to play with the yellow ball kept in the box. When the chief wasn’t looking, the raven took the sun and flew back through the hole in the sky.” And what’s even better is that Andrew Vasquez has given us the song that fits so perfectly with the story

Buy Togo, and his other CDs, Wind River, V3: an American Indian, and Vasquez

Author: TJ Nelson

TJ Nelson is a regular CD reviewer and editor at World Music Central. She is also a fiction writer. Check out her latest book, Chasing Athena’s Shadow.

Set in Pineboro, North Carolina, Chasing Athena’s Shadow follows the adventures of Grace, an adult literacy teacher, as she seeks to solve a long forgotten family mystery. Her charmingly dysfunctional family is of little help in her quest. Along with her best friends, an attractive Mexican teacher and an amiable gay chef, Grace must find the one fading memory that holds the key to why Grace’s great-grandmother, Athena, shot her husband on the courthouse steps in 1931.

Traversing the line between the Old South and New South, Grace will have to dig into the past to uncover Athena’s true crime.