Various Artists

Native American Odyssey

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This ambitious collection aims to include a diverse roster of contemporary North and South American Native musicians. The album begins with music by Canadian Inuit and Montagnais Indians, and spans America with tracks from Apache, Mohican, and Ute musicians. South American Zapotec, Amazon, and Andean musicians round out the album. In addition to the mournful flutes and driving drums you might expect to hear, there are violins, guitars, and keyboards present in some songs. These musicians express their traditional Native values mixed with pop music influences. Tracks like "Wind River" by Andrew Varquez of the Apache are more traditional and contain only melodic flute and express a longing for the days when "gas stations, supermarkets, waffle houses" were not present in the Indian world, and there were no official boundaries or fences restricting their people. Right alongside the traditional pieces are songs like "Ghost Dance" by Bill Miller. This is a pop song with Native influences, sung in English, about a warrior's spirit coming home. The eclectic mix of what listeners tend to think of as traditional Native American instruments and modern songs makes the music accessible to all people, even those who think they might not be interested in Native American music.

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