Sunday, March 27, 2005

Carlos Nakai - "See the Rainbows"

This is a traditional Zuni melody arranged by Nakai on the native american flute. The Zuni (or the A:shiwi as they call themselves) native americans are located around the western border of New Mexico and are said to have inhabited the Zuni river valley since at least 4 ad and their language does not seem to be related to the other Pueblo indians of the area. They believe themselves to have emerged from the underworld at either the Grand Canyon or the Mojave desert and are thought to be descendants of the extensive Anasazi tribe.
I actually got this CD in Cherokee, NC over spring break in the "talking leaves" bookstore. Native american flute is one of my favorite instruments.

This song beings with a repeated phrase something like a sixteenth on a lower octave and a dotted eighth on the upper octave and then the higher note repeated and held at length. Then the melody dips a minor third down, down a whole step, back up holding the last note. The piece almost reminds me of a rondo in the sense that this phrase returns at the end of each new melodic venture, though does not end the piece. Nakai further embellishes the phrase as he repeats it, adding what sound to be "hiccup" gestures with his flute and so forth. This gives an almost hypnotic sense to the work and a sense of continuity.

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