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Robbie Robertson - Mahk Jchi (Heartbeat Drum Song)


Mahk Jchi (Heartbeat Drum Song)
Robbie Robertson
Music For The Native Americans
1994

Mahk jchi tahm buooi yahmpi gidi
Mahk jchi taum buooi kan spewa ebi

Mahmpi wah hoka yee monk
Tahond tani kiyee tiyee
Gee we-me eetiyee
Nanka yaht yamoonieah wajitse

From the opening beats of "Coyote Dance" (a rhythm so ancient, Bo Diddley would be proud to claim it), to the whirligig of acoustic and electric sounds comprising "Ghost Dance," the listener is plunged into a world of tradition and technology--one that might suggest Enigma's synthesis of chant and techno to well-traveled listeners.

Rock and roll rustic Robbie Robertson acknowledges and reappraises his own Mohawk legacy by producing and performing MUSIC FOR THE NATIVE AMERICANS. This soundtrack is moody, mysterious and deeply moving, evoking as it does the thoughts and words and traditions of the ancestors, and putting them in a thoroughly modern musical context--no Hollywood dances around the campfire for Robbie Robertson and his collaborators.

Which is to say that MUSIC FOR THE NATIVE AMERICANS is concerned with imparting insights from a living tradition, not unearthing parables for a dead one. Thus on "The Vanishing Breed" the flute, keyboards and programming of Spotted Eagle embellish ceremonial rhythms with celestial orchestrations, celebrating the Native American's timeless spirit (as Robertson's guitar outlines a lyric expanse that might just as easily be found on a Pink Floyd disc), while "It Is A Good Day To Die" and "Words Of Fire, Deeds Of Blood" sum up the defiant spirit and courage of their forebears. Elsewhere, traditional materials such as "Akua Tuta" and the chant "Cherokee Morning Song" shimmer with peace and devotion.

Recorded at The Village Recorder, Los Angeles, California; River Sound, New York; Sound Concept, Montreal, Canada; Sunsinger Studios, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Personnel includes: Robbie Robertson (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Ulali, Priscilla Coolidge, The Silvercloud Singers (vocals); Denis Toupin (vocals, drums); Rejean Bouchard (electric guitar); Bill Dillon (guitar, guitorgan, chamberlin, bass); Daniel Jean (violin); Elodie Lauten (keyboards); Tony Green, Pierre Duchesne (bass); Sal Fararas, Benito Concha, Sebastian Robertson (drums); Alex Acuna (percussion); Jim Wilson, Dave Pickell (programming); Delphine Robertson, Claude Pelletter (background vocals).

Producers: Robbie Robertson, Jim Wilson, Toby Gendron, Pierre Duchesne.

Rolling Stone (11/3/94, p.98) - 3.5 Stars - Good - "...Robertson crafts brooding atmosphere out of indigenous chants and melodies, original compositions and found sounds. Earthy and ethereal, this is ambient music that insinuates as it lingers..."

Entertainment Weekly (10/7/94, p.76) - "...proves he can still come up with some pretty amazing songs when the spirit moves him..." - Rating: A-

Q (12/94, p.142) - 3 Stars - Good - "...roots-infused, cinematic big music that sits as comfortably between Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush as it does riding the Great Plains bareback..."

NME (Magazine) (10/22/94, p.49) - 6 - Good - "...he's party to a refreshing and regenerative musical statement in an increasingly turbulent and destructive musical year..."

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