Nadah Benagolze

Wood That Sings
Indian Fiddle Music of the Americas


01. Violín - José Enrique Benítez - 2:54
02. La Guaneña - Danubio Azul Group, The - 2:34
03. Danza a Santiago - Townspeople of Llacuari Pueblo - 3:02
04. Kariso - Antonio Lorenzano - 1:20
05. Araku - Gervasio Martínez - 2:10
06. Nantu ("Luna") - Pedro Nayap - 3:39
07. Yan Tox - Mateo Mo Xal and Crisanto Coc - 2:08
08. Jacaltenango - Grupo Jolom Conob - 3:52
09. Aires Fandango - Marcelino Poot Ek, Pedro Ek Cituk, and Esteban Caamal Dzul - 4:39
10. Tzacamson - Townspeople of Tancanhuitz - 1:55
11. Son Para Entregar a la Novia - José Augustín and José Martín Cruz - 4:00
12. Wiricuta - Mariano, Pablo, Rosenda, and Augustín - 2:05
13. Melody Played on the Enneg - Francisco Barnet Astorga - 0:48
14. I'll Go with You - Chesley Goseyun Wilson - 3:25
15. Pahko'ola Dance Song - Felipe Molina and the Yaqui Deer Singers - 3:37
16. Never Alone - The San Xavier Fiddle Band - 2:15
17. Strathspey and Reel Medley - Lee Cremo Trio - 4:49
18. Jig Medley - Lee Cremo Trio - 5:13
19. Finale Medley - Lawrence Houle - 7:26
20. Eagle Island Blues: Athapaskan Love Song - Bill Stevens, Frances Williams, and Lisa Jaeger - 4:28
21. Turkey in the Straw - Georgia Wettlin-Larsen - 1:17
22. Road to Baroche - Jimmie LaRocque, Gerry McIvor, and Kim Chartrand - 2:28
23. Big John McNeill - Jimmie LaRocque, Gerry McIvor, and Kim Chartrand - 2:07


Argentina; Bolivia; Canada; Colombia; Ecuador; Guatemala; Mexico; Peru; United States; Venezuela
Culture Groups:

Apache; Assiniboine; Chapaco; Gwich'in; Huichol; Kanjobal Maya; Kekchi; Maya; Mbya; Micmac; Nahua; Ojibwa; Quechua; Seri; Shuar; Tenek; Tohono O'Odham; Warao; Yaqui


Baritono; Bombo (Drum); Enneg; Fiddle; Flute; Guitar; Harp; Jigger; Kitar; Monochord; Piano; Rebec; Seke-Seke; Tambura; Tiple (Plucked instrument); Torola; Trumpet; Violin




This anthology of Indian fiddle music of the Americas features performances by Indian musicians from Nova Scotia and Manitoba to North Dakota and Arizona, to Mexico, Peru, and elsewhere in Latin America. Using this most popular of instruments as a way to explore the great variety and creativity of Indian musical traditions—from chicken scratch to the indigenous Apache fiddle—this recording expresses the capacity of Native cultures to adapt and synthesize non-Native influences.  

Chasi, Bonito's Son, an Apache musician playing the "Apache fiddle"

 Jonathan Colcord writes:

 Here is an interesting anthology of songs performed by native Americans. My first reaction to these recordings was that they were old. While much of the material may be, the recordings are all of relativley recent vintage. The most wonderful aspect of this release is the way the works are placed in relation to one another, almost like a musical map. It begins in Bolivia with a piece simply titled 'Violin' from Jose Enrique Benitez. We are moved from there to Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Agentina, Ecuador, Guatamala, and into Mexico. At this point you realize what is happening stylistically as we progress northward. Familiar western styles begin to emerge, epecially when Mexico emerges.

From there we move into Arizona, and from there, clear up to Cape Bretton. Mi'Kmaq group the Lee Cremo Trio play relatively straight forward Cape Bretton style fiddle music much to my surprise. It becomes more of a tribute to native musicians themselves than another collection of traditional songs, otherwise obscure. When we arrive in Manitoba, the styles bend more toward country fiddling even including a bit of the 'Orange Blossom Special'. In the US, stops are made in Alaska, Wisconsin, and North Dakota. One of the highlights for me was Jimmie Laroque, a Chippewa from Norht Dakota and 'Road To Batoche', a song which reminded me of 'Jerusalem's Ridge', one of my all-time favorite fiddle-tunes. Another high-point is Georgia Wettlin-Larsen, Assiniboine Nakota from Wisconsin performing 'Turkey In The Straw' including vocals in both English and her native language.

 Jim Nelson says:

Listening to this CD is like taking a musical journey among the Indian peoples that reside throughout the Western Hemisphere, from the Chapaco in Argentina to Gwich'in Athapaskans in Alaska, with stops all along the way. Some folks may be a bit surprised by the fact that fiddling itself is so commonplace among such diverse Indian cultures, and at the same time, by how remarkably similar some of this music sounds to fiddling traditions in the U.S. and Canada which derive directly from Scottish, Irish, and French sources with which they may be familiar. In fact, some of the fiddlers included here play in a style that is virtually identical to their Anglo counterparts. Leo Creomo and his trio, for example, play straight-ahead dance tunes not unlike those heard played throughout their native Cape Breton Island. Metis fiddlers Lawrence "Teddy Boy" Houle and Jimmie LaRocque both exhibit traces of Scottish as well as other European-rooted traditions, including Irish and French-Canadian. Both, for instance, play the well-known tune "Big John McNeill." Houle plays a medley of tunes that suddenly careens into bluegrass territory with versions of "Orange Blossom Special," "Old Joe Clark," and "Boil Them Cabbage Down."

While some of the tunes and styles played by the fiddlers from the U.S. and Canada often seem to have some familiar quality about them, the music on this disc played by the South and Central American musicians definitely sounds like it comes from a different time and place. Alternately mesmerizing or high-spirited, down-to-earth or downright spooky, the music captured on this CD is some of the most captivating and beautiful that I have experienced in some time. It is next to impossible to pick out favorites among the pieces as I hear something completely new each time I give this disc a listen.

This CD is a joint project of the National Museum of the American Indian and the Smithsonian Institution. The music was for the most part, recorded "in the field" by ethnomusicologists and folklorists from all parts of the Americas. As one might expect, the accompanying notes are extensive and informative, scholarly yet comprehensible, and help to provide the listener with clear contextual background about the music, the various types of violins and other instruments played, and the people who play them. The notes, which include bibliographical references, a discography and videography help to promote the sense that this CD is an important document. Any way one approaches it, Wood That Sings contains some lovely and captivating listening.  
Highly recommended.




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