Sound of America Recordings (SOAR)
"Across Indian Lands" is an earthy, meditative collection of traditional music performed by Native American artists of several nations, sung in the native language of the performer. The aien words, however, come to feel inconsequential, since the music communicates directly to your heart.
What is it about Native American music that connects so firmly to our souls? Listen to it with an open mind and you can feel the pull. The CD opens smartly with "Grandfather's Song" by Bryan Akipa from the Dakota Sioux Nation. A prototypical traditional song, it contrasts floating, effortless flute with steady, pulsing drums.
Both "Lakota Dream Song", in the beautiful, meandering, leathery voice of Earl Bullhead of the Lakota Sioux Nation, and "Honor Song" from the Eastern Canadian Singers, Mikmaq Nation, are Native American hymns. "Honor Song" reminds the listener to be proud to be an Indian, to be proud of the ancestors, and to help one another. The soaring chorus reflects this sense of unity.
Other standout tracks include "Song for Mother Earth," a Navaho song about the importance of respecting all that is nature, "Dakota Love Song" another flute and drum song by Bryan Akipa. "Prayer Song," performed in the Blackfoot language, expresses thanks to the Creator for being Indian.
The liner notes devote a great deal of space to a chronology of the Colonial conflict with the Native Americans. Without question, that tragic history and deserves to be well documented. More contextual information about the music or Native American culture, however, might have served the cause more than political statements. Familiarity with the music already breeds sympathy with the artists' mindset: more information on the songs at hand could only increase the feeling of solidarity.