Friday, April 22, 2011

In review--Soaring Heights

Aaron White & Anthony Wakeman
Handprints of Our People
Canyon Records

Neither Dinè-Ute guitarist-flutist Aaron White or Lakota flutist Anthony Wakeman are new to my ears. I’ve heard at least two incarnations of White’s duos and heard Wakeman’s solo and collaborative recordings. So listening to White’s and Wakeman’s Handprint of Our People comes as a lovely respite. White’s bluesy guitar (listen to the stunner Dunes of Time) coupled with Wakeman’s ethereal flute connects the earth and the sky. Needless to say I find the duo’s warm acoustic album deeply relaxing. Certainly the music here would benefit massage and energy healing clients who prefer new age and indigenous music with an edge.

Wakeman’s flute provides more washes than melodic hooks which contributes to the relaxing vibe. And the deep tones of White’s guitar relieve tension. On End of My Trail, White plays lilting arpeggios which Wakeman’s dragonfly-like flute dances around. On Return of the Twins Wakeman and White perform a flute duo with White playing a double-chambered flute—easily the most relaxing song on the recording. White brings back the honey-warmth of his guitar on the following track, First Light, but by this point, the listener has already reached a state of blissfulness. (In fact, I’m trying to write this review while listening to the recording and all I want to do is let my mind soar like Brother Eagle).

Handprint of Our People is easily the most beautiful Native American recording I’ve heard in recent months. I’m fond of flutes and acoustic guitars (having played both). I also believe that with Neptune in Pisces for the next 13 years, flutes will play a much bigger role along with harps and instruments that conjure watery images in our minds. Flutes represent breath and air as well as take our minds and hearts to otherworldly places. I highly recommend this album for people needing a retreat or who enjoy soulful acoustic music. I also recommend this recording for overly tense children, people recovering from an illness, and pets. Even as quiet background music the songs on the recording cleanse negative energy from a room and usher in peaceful vibrations. You’re safe in White’s and Wakeman’s hands.  Put this one in the player and allow your hearts to soar the friendly skies.