Think Global: Native America is a celebration of the inspirational culture of North America’s first peoples and explores the powerful influence of traditional pow wows, sun dances and ceremonial gatherings alongside the sublime flute playing of Carlos Nakai, and the unforgettable voice of the legendary Buffy Sainte-Marie.
R. Carlos Nakai is the world’s leading performer of the Native American flute. He has released more than thirty-five albums and as well as traditional flute playing, Nakai has also explored New Age, world-beat jazz and classical musical settings. On ‘Lapule’, he and Native Hawaiian slack-key guitar master Keola Beamer beautifully fuse regional US music forms. Born on a Cree reservation and adopted by a white couple, Buffy Sainte-Marie rose to fame as part of the Greenwich Village folk revival scene. As a college student in the early 1960s, Buffy became known as a writer of protest songs and love songs, many of which became huge hits, performed by the likes of Barbra Streisand, Elvis Presley and Janis Joplin.
Joanne Shenandoah is an Iroquois singer and acoustic guitarist. Her music is a mixture of traditional songs and melodies with a blend of traditional and contemporary instrumentation and she has won a multitude of awards, including ‘Artist of the Year’ at the Native American Music Awards. Robert Tree Cody is a leading flute player who performs regularly at powwows across the USA as well as touring internationally. On ‘Buffalo Prayer Song’, Cody and Hovia Edwards – a young Native flute player – celebrate one of the most important animals to the Sioux. Thunder Hill has emerged as one of the greatest contemporary powwow groups and ‘Contest Song’ is a roaring powwow chant showcasing many of the best singers of the southern Plains.
Peyote songs, accompanied by rattle and water drum, have long been a part of southwestern Native religious ceremonies and this album features Johnny Mike and Wahancanka, two highly respected peyote singers. Blackfire play both Ramones-inspired rock and roll and traditional Navajo music and ‘American Indian Movement Song’ celebrates the Native organisation that fought the US government over discrimination and treaty rights.
Compiled by journalist and author Garth Cartwright, this album is a fascinating glimpse of Native music-making as a ceremonial form as at the dawn of the twenty-first century, Native American music reaches towards ever greater achievements.
Think Global: Native America has been produced in collaboration with Oxfam, with sales from the album raising money for the independent organisation and registered charity.