Unlike many who have borrowed Native American instruments and themes for their musical palette, composer Dik Darnell "belongs." He was adopted by Chief Frank Fools Crow, the holy man of the Lakota Nation, and Darnell performed sacred ceremony long before he decided (after consulting with Native elders) to give it a musical voice. With synthesizer, rattle, grandfather drum, voice, and the sounds of nature, Darnell evokes Native American ceremony for the 24 hours. A gentle flute salutes the dawn with the fresh sound of first light's songbirds. "Ocean" takes us below massive, crashing waves to hear the whales, while a mighty drum beats like a heart. Other cuts include sounds of rain, winds, thunder, pounding hail, and peaceful crickets mixed with the low chanting of a holy man, the singing of an Indian dancer, spirit rattles, drums, and flutes. Darnell's synthesizer music gives the sonic ceremony dramatic scope or plateaus of peace. The liner notes state that Ceremony was "composed and performed spontaneously during a ceremony." Darnell's album has that fresh and authentic spark of a "first," yet is rich and alive with sonic splendor. Darnell's other Native American ceremony albums include Winter Solstice Ceremony (1992), Voice of the Four Winds (1994), and Ceremony (1994).
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AllMusic Review by Carol Wright