By Niki D’Andrea
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Niki D’Andrea ATTN: YAFI c/o Phoenix New Times 1201 E. Jefferson Street Phoenix, AZ 85034
This week’s review is on the new CD from Native American pow-wow drum group Black Lodge. The group is signed to Canyon Records, the oldest and most successful record label in the state of Arizona, which specializes in Native American music.
Black Lodge Spo’Mo’Kin’Nan (Canyon Records) When some people think of pow-wow songs, they may envision walking through some hokey tourist shop in Sedona that sells crystals and turquoise while some generic, so-called Native American folk songs drivel through the store’s speakers. But Black Lodge is the real deal -- this album was recorded live during the White Swan Indian Summer Celebration Pow-Wow, and performed by a group of 14 Native American drummers, ten of whom are from the Blackfeet nation (the others are from the Lummi, Meskwaki, Cree, and Lumbee nations). The drumming itself is persistent, pounding, and evocative, with native chants wrapped around the rhythms to tell stories of dancing, rituals, family, and song-sharing traditions. The members of Black Lodge composed and sang all the songs in the Blackfeet language, with the exception of two: “Red Stars” (composed by Shane Red Star of the Young Spirit drum group and sung in Plains Cree), and “Cozad” (composed by Larry Cozad of Hog Creek, Oklahoma and sung in vocables). The album is a testament to a musical legacy that spans generations and has also managed to crack the mainstream: Black Lodge has been nominated for Grammy Awards six times. For people seeking an authentic recording of traditional Native American music, there is no substitute for the spirit and sound of Black Lodge.
Next week's review: Rashenal.