Thursday, September 18, 2014

Music Review: Joanne Shenandoah, Orenda: Native American Songs of Life

Joanne Shenandoah, Orenda: Native American Songs of Life, with Lawrence Laughing, AllMusic, 1998.
This is some beautiful music.  They sing in their native language, Mohawk.  However there is included a type of written narration which gives some idea of what is being said.  These are songs for the long house.  The music and harmony are very nice. They sing alone, and then sing together and it makes for a nice blend.  There are a couple times when they have narration under the vocal or instrumental and this I didn’t care for.  It was usually to soft to actually hear. 
My favorite song is “In Love.”  It has a lively celebratory tone.  You can feel the happiness of being in love.  This is the Mohawk rabbit Song, a traditional dance in which the women select yheir partner and they dance around the singers.  An elder said the Rabbit Dance was like a marriage ‘two steps forward, one back.”

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