Wednesday, September 22, 2010

In review--Mountain Spirits


Estun-Bah
(Tony Duncan, Darrin Yazzie and Jeremy Dancing Bull)
From Where the Sun Rises
Canyon Records


It has been years since I’ve heard a contemporary acoustic Native American recording such as Estun-Bah’s From Where the Sun Rises. Inspired by the work of R. Carlos Nakai and most likely Burning Sky, here we have warm acoustic guitar playing alongside a frame drum and lilting Native American flute. The sweet rolling melodies captivate my imagination and I find these tracks deeply relaxing. No doubt From Where the Sun Rises appeals to new age and Native American music listeners, but it could also appeal to those seeking warm and uplifting music that plays in the background as they go about their work (including me).


I don’t know the age of the musicians, but they look like they just graduated from high school. Though they’re musical talent reveals maturity, especially with the polished arrangements and performances. The three musicians hail from Northern Plains, Dakotas, and Southwestern tribes bringing intertribal influences to their songs. Together We Dance weds Darren Yazzie’s plaintive guitar strums and Tony Duncan’s sweet flute. The earthy In the Time of the Chiefs feels securely anchored with Jeremy Dancing Bull’s drum heartbeat. The musician’s unique abilities culminate in the song Mountain Spirit with a playful percussive groove, melodious flute, and lighthearted guitar. All the songs move at either a slow or medium tempo with plenty of moments to captivate imaginations. Perfect music is provided for visualization and light meditation or for taking a walk in nature.


No doubt this new young NA trio will be joining the ranks with Burning Sky, Robert Mirabel, Mary Youngblood, and other acoustic-based contemporary NA musicians. Estun-Bah’s fresh approach hopefully inspires other young NA musicians to perform acoustic-based heartfelt music. This one goes straight to the heart and leaves peaceful feelings behind.


http://www.canyonrecords.com

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