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Open Circle

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Album Review

Although traditional Native American music is Kevin Locke's foundation, it would be a mistake to think of the gifted flute player (a Lakota Indian from North Dakota) as a purist. In fact, one of the things that makes Open Circle especially interesting is Locke's willingness to turn to different cultures for creative inspiration. The mostly instrumental CD opens with an unorthodox interpretation of "Amazing Grace," which isn't exactly considered traditional Native American repertoire but lends itself quite well to a Sioux makeover. Other songs on Open Circle range from Locke's own compositions to traditional Native American pieces such as "I'm Having a Hard Time," "Look This Way," and "Cherish Grandmother," all of which find Locke's sidemen playing instruments from around the world. Locke's flutes are accompanied by everything from the Australian didgeridoo (an instrument created by the Aboriginal tribe) and the Brazilian berimbau to West African udu drums. This tranquil, contemplative music not only celebrates the richness of Locke's own culture — it acknowledges some others as well.


Born: 1952

Genre: World

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

A member of the Hunkpapa band of the Lakota (or Sioux), Kevin Locke was raised in an environment where traditional culture and religion had almost lost the battle against the government-driven forces that preferred either cultural assimilation or extermination to the preservation of traditional Native American ways of life. Despite this climate, Locke began to learn about his ancestral culture, learning the Lakota language and single-handedly rescuing the art of Northern Plains flute from the brink...
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Open Circle, Kevin Locke
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