Xavier Quijas Yxayotl

Singing Earth

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Guadalajara native Yxayotl is an artist, instrument builder, and musician, and all three come into play on this earthy, evocative release. He plays Aztec and Mayan flutes, drums, and percussion and is backed up by four additional percussionists. Yxayotl composed each of the ten tracks here and each is a tone poem in honor of some aspect of Meso-American ritual. The richly varied timbres of the flutes and percussion instruments paint vivid pictures, wordlessly telling the stories behind titles such as "Singing Earth," "Music for Rain God," and "Fire Dance." These instruments, all born of the earth, surpass any electronic instrument in evoking the sounds of wind, rain, thunder, or bird songs. "Offering to Mother Earth" features a sub-bass flute and swishing rattle sounds over a softly spoken invocation. "Night Spirits" is one of the most colorful tracks here, with a soft drum pattern throbbing under the sharp scrape of a rasp and the warm harmonies of the breathy flutes. Reverent and mysterious, celebratory and joyous, this is music that sounds ancient as the earth itself, yet has definite 21st century relevance.

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