Various Artists

Between Father Sky and Mother Earth

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Songs are a heritage in Native American cultures, used for medicine of all kinds and for links to animal life, to the spirit world, to the heart, to the mind. In the past few decades, Native American music has resurfaced in full force, developing in ways that enhance and build upon past forms and methods through the use of technologies and musical ideas undreamed of in the past. This wonderful collection takes stock of both traditional and modern forms, ranging from R. Carlos Nakai, Cornel Pewewardy, and Douglas Spotted Eagle providing the expected flute performances; to Bill Miller mixing Native American approaches into folk and country ballads; to the free-floating jazz of Charles Jefferson, whose trumpet-led "500 Drums" is one of many highlights of the album (the album itself is a highlight, in fact, no doubt of that). Between Father Sky and Mother Earth is by no means an ultimate collection of Native American music (a single disc isn't room enough by far), but it is one that can be considered both an essential starting point and an excellent way station.

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