Friday, February 3, 2012

In review--Blessings to the Homeland

Ramilla Cody with Herman Cody
Shi Kéyah
Songs for the People
Canyon Records

Diné (Navajo) traditional vocalist Radmilla Cody brings us her fifth album, Shi Kéyah Songs for the People on Canyon Records.  Cody sings a cappella with a traditional drum accompanying her. She sings songs about war veterans, lost lovers, bluebirds ushering a new day, and the homeland in the Diné language.  Her uncle Herman Cody composed the songs and he makes a vocal appearance on A Gift to Us.  With a voice similar in timbre and emotional color to another Diné singer, Sharon Burch (especially on Native Food Song), Cody offers her listeners an authentic Native music experience.

I especially enjoy the cadence of Cody’s voice as it travels through the stories she presents here.  Beautiful Mother Earth reminds me of some of Iroquois vocalist Joanne Shenandoah’s chants, thought Cody sings in a more upbeat tempo than Shenandoah.  Similar to Shenandoah and Burch, Cody possesses talent to burn as a singer, a humanitarian, and preserver of traditions.  She sings with love in her heart and you can feel this love as the singer caresses every word, even the humorous ones in the songs, Where are You and Commodity Blues, though a touch of irony presents itself.

After listening to Songs for the People, you might feel tempted to check out Cody’s other four recordings on Canyon Records.  In the meantime, enjoy this offering to Mother Earth, the Navajo homeland and its people.



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