Fernando Cellicion

Vol. 2: The Traditional and Contemporary Indian Flute of Fernando Cellicion

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This is the second recording created by this flutist who resides in the Zuni pueblo in New Mexico. A traditional musician such as Fernando Cellicion is about the furthest thing from a new age type as one can get, but there has been an unfortunate and at times demeaning crossover beween the type of music he plays and the type of recordings that are sold in gift shops on a rack right behind the incense and the glowing purple meditation balls. One of the most difficult things a player could do on a flute of any kind is to make it sound harsh or ugly and, as a result, the instrument in all its historical variations tends to find its way onto the type of recordings that eventually became known under the commercially happening moniker of new age. The fact that "new age" and "Native American" might share the same initials, with fans of the latter music sometimes simply calling it "na music," should be regarded as a "not appropriate" coincidence. It is pretty much true that just about anyone who can make a sound out of the flute could produce a new age record, and better yet if they are standing around inside the Taj Mahal, as flutist Paul Horn did more than a decade before the new age label was even invented. Parts of Cellicion's work might remind a listener of Horn's efforts, as many of the pieces are of medium tempo, recorded with a lush sense of reverberation and cling to the pretty sound of the instrument rather than develop any kind of other musical excitement. The fact that "Zuni Comanche Song" is played along with the sound of a babbling brook might really give a listener the bad impression, as this is a creeky effect indeed. It does get better as it goes along, and it is interesting to hear the takes on Christian numbers such as "How Great Thou Art" and "Jesus Loves Me." A good performance all in all, but listeners will have to choose for themselves whether they want their interest in Native American music to lead in this direction. Despite the unfortunate tarring with the new age brush, some listeners may prefer this type of thing to more aggressive pow wow music involving drumming, chanting, and lyrics the paleface can't understand.

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