Joanne Shenandoah

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Covenant Review

by AllMusic

Joanne Shenandoah is one of the most important musical voices for the Oneida people and the Native American community as a whole. COVENANT is intended to represent, through words and music, the ancient spiritual pact between her people and the earth.

COVENANT begins with "Giving Thanks" a track that features an elder (speaking in Oneida) praying for the earth and the Indian people. The album continues with 10 original songs, all of which celebrate the land and the traditions of the Iroquois or Six Nations (including the Mohawk, Onondaga, Cayuga, Oneida, Seneca, and Tuscarora nations). On "Help Us Be Peaceful," Shenandoah sings a plaintive melody in her native language, while atmospheric keyboards swirl ominously in the background. "100 Winters" sees Shenandoah soliloquizing over a funky techno-driven beat, and the album concludes with "Everybody Stand Up," a call to preserve the earth and the ways of the Iroquois. In general, this music is largely electronic and computer-based, and stands in stark contrast to Shenandoah's earlier folk-influenced work. However, her voice is still powerful and entrancing, and her songs transcend the synthetic boundaries of electronic music.

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