Think Global: Native America

Various Artists

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Think Global: Native America Review

by Chris Nickson

There have been very few good compilations of Native American music, but this one gets the balance right, catching the breadth of sound that's possible, whether it's the pow-wow of Thunder Hill's "Contest Song," the ethereal flute of R. Carlos Nakai (both on his own and working with Hawaiian guitarist Keola Beamer, thus uniting two native peoples), even singer/songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie or the punk fire of Blackfire, whose anger is palpable. Although a lot of Native American music is dismissed as new age, the selections and artists here make a strong case for it as something much deeper and resonant, from the peyote singers like Johnny Mike to singer and guitarist Joanne Shenandoah, one of the most widely known Indian artists. There are ceremonies here, melodies, and memories, all coming together to offer and excellent musical portrait of a culture. Anyone looking for a strong introduction to Native American music should look no further.

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