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Album Review

After their moving collaboration on a TV documentary, vocalist Joanne Shenandoah and pianist/composer Peter Kater were moved to record a whole album of traditional Iroquois songs. These nine ancient songs are similar in melody and lyrics; the melodic line is long and sweet like a lullaby while the language flies light with elongated vowel sounds. For the most part, Kater surrounds the songs airily, with light organ chords that touch extended vistas. Only "Woman's Dance" is jazzed up. His piano adds sweet, melodic touches. "Dance of the North," with its eddies of wind, is spellbinding, like mighty clouds skimming gracefully across mountain ranges; according to Shenandoah, this song is a "thunder dance" and mourning song. Kazu Matsui on shakuhachi flute brings a ghostly Zen element to the beginning of title track, but a beat builds and the song races in joyous prayer to the blood of life, water. The heartbeat here is especially effective. Shenandoah's voice is so rich and inviting you can almost inhale it. Also appearing are Michael Moses Tirsch on percussion; Randy Chavez on acoustic, electric, and processed guitar; and Tony Levin on bass guitar.

Biography

Genre: New Age

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Native American vocalist Joanne Shenandoah is a member of the Wolf Clan of the Oneida Nation, Iroquois Confederacy. Her parents, Maisie Shenandoah, a Clanmother, and the late Clifford Shenandoah, an Onondaga chief and jazz guitarist, loved music and named Joanne "Tek-ya-wha-wha," which means "she sings" in the Oneida language. As a child, Joanne learned all the tribal songs and studied voice, flute,...
Full bio
Life Blood, Joanne Shenandoah
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  • 8,91 €
  • Genres: New Age, Music, World
  • Released: 01 January 1995

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