Sunday, November 9, 2008

In Review--Ancestors of the Red Earth

courtesy of Ixtlan Recording Consortium

Kevin Locke
Earth Gift
Ixtlan Recording Consortium

Lakota flutist, storyteller and dancer Tokaheya Inajin (Kevin Locke), has tirelessly promoted culture and music to both adults and children throughout the years. His newest recording, Earth Gift offers a profound connection to this great planet through the songs of the Lakota. The recording shows Locke paying homage to the earth, to his ancestors, animal spirits, and collector of Native American songs, Frances Densmore.

Producer and musician Tom Wasinger (Joanne Shenandoah & Mary Youngblood), offers his expertise on this disc. Besides producing Earth Gift, he also played cymbalom, percussion, udu and zither, not to mention instruments made directly from the natural world. Locke (rattles, vocals and flute), joins up with Doug Good Feather (lead vocals and drum), Gracie RedShirt Tyon (accompaniment vocals) and Wasinger. The end result is a recording that connects heaven and earth thus creating balance.

I have only heard one other recording by Locke, First Flute (Makoche), in which the flutist performed outdoors with the sound of nature swirling around his flute. Earth Gift possesses the Wasinger signature with some loops of natural sounds combined with international and Native American instruments. Locke brings a lot of passion to his flute as do the other musicians to their respective instruments. And the key word here is "respect" for nature, for Lakota legends, traditions, songs and Mother Earth.

Locke sums up the whole listening experience in the liner notes that can be found in an exquisite CD booklet. "The use of sound as preparation for the journey to a higher state of being is a cross-cultural concept. From Buddhist chantings to Aboriginal didgeridoo, sound brings us to the sacred. In Lakota, the sound of a song is a prayer, a means of connection back to the place of oneness. The screech of an eagle, the explosion of thunder..."

A collection of traditional songs related to eagle, thunder, animals and other natural realms appear on this CD flowing into each other similar to a river into a lake. Here too, many thoughts and emotions flow into a lake we call oneness or unity. I can hear a lot of thought, feeling, passion and compassion that went into this soulful recording. I highly recommend it to anyone choosing to experience oneness in their everyday existence. This truly is music for a new age, a new dawn for this continent and throughout the earth. or

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