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Oru: The Natural Order

Gary Stroutsos

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Album Review

A unique multi-cultural presentation that will excite the palettes of ethnomusicologists, flute lovers, and global music fans everywhere, this is a collaborative labor of love from two of the world's most renowned flutists, Gary Stroutsos and Danilo Lozano. Over the past decade, Stroutsos has become one of new age music's most popular artists by combining his jazz background with dynamic explorations of Afro-Cuban and American Indian Music. Expanding his global reach under the musical direction of producer Lozano, Stroutsos extracts the melodies of chants from the Afro-Cuban adaptations of the ancient Nigerian Yoruba religion and places them in the unique new context of Native American and Chinese flutes (the Xiao). These haunting flute excursions are enhanced by percussionists Michito Sanchez and Kevin Ricard, who explore wooden boxes, rattles, lightning and water drums, chimes, clay pottery, and toy jewelry. The religious foundation upon which the music is based is fascinating. "Oru" is the root word of the phrase "Oru de Igbodu," which is the liturgy of the natural order of deities in the Yoruba religion. The deities (orishas) — kings and heroes of the Yoruba people — are the cosmic beings that reflect principles that exist in human society and symbolize the forces of nature. Each of the eight tracks of Oru are named after these deities. "Eleggua" is the divine messenger, guardian of the crossroads, who hears Stroutsos' flute wailings and tribal rhythms amidst a soundscape of birds, nature sounds, and small, toy-like objects. Other indigenous percussion flavors enhance his moody flute expressions on "Ogun," a chant to the blacksmith god who is the spirit and sound of iron. The cultural background helps in understanding the impetus for the project, but even without that knowledge, Oru: The Natural Order, can be enjoyed on purely aesthetic and ambient terms.

Biography

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s

A musician with a variety of musical influences, from Afro-Cuban to jazz, Gary Stroutsos is most at home playing cedar flutes in the Native American tradition. Dedicated to Native American culture and environmentalism, his music has been featured in several Native American showcases and he performed for the televised Earth Day celebration in British Columbia, Caretakers of the Earth. In 2000, he teamed up with Jonn Serrie to release the new age fusion album Hidden World. A solo effort, entitled Pacific...
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Oru: The Natural Order, Gary Stroutsos
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