Steamboat Springs Taking a step inside the Native American music world is like emerging into a swirl of foreign sounds that delves into the depths of social gatherings while leaving an enigma of the people.
Native Americans from different countries, in different reservations, from different tribes, gathered to help produce a second compilation of Native American chants and dances with the Higher Octave record label "Sacred Spirit II: More Chants and Dances of the Native Americans."
Whether it's the pronounced percussion that sometimes is lost in modern music or the foreign lyrics that sing through to the soul, Cherokee Rose said the experience to develop native music is unforgettable.
With two cuts on the December 2000 release of the second Sacred Spirit album, her personal connection with Native American traditional music heightened when she heard No. 8 "May You Walk in Sunshine."
"When I heard that cut ..." Rose said as her voice ceased in amazement. "It's wonderful to take traditional music, but contemporize it, but stay true to the feeling."
Having remixed a song for the second release of Sacred Spirit I, Rose said this album allows the artists to explore their own talents and have more control over production with their voices.
"Artists are given a chance to really control their own music ... to authenticate the chance to let artists have their own voices," Rose said.
Although the word "sacred" appears as a word in the title, the meaning to commercial America and to Native Americans has stretched in opposite directions.
"Some songs are very spiritual, but their use of the word sacred is something pure or of spiritual value," Rose said, contrasting the ritual or ceremonial meaning for Native Americans.
Rose said each tribe declares different things as sacred, however, marriage, birth, passing on and medicinal songs all have sacred value.
No outsider will ever grasp the intensity or value of a truly sacred piece, she said. Unwritten social laws tell Native Americans that those songs, chants or dances are sacred only to the tribe.
"You will never hear it unless you are there. Nothing you hear on the CD is sacred," Rose said. "Sacred songs cannot be reproduced."
What listeners will find on Sacred Spirit II is a blend of social tribal songs from various tribal members around the country.
Although Virgin Records technically owns this CD, Higher Octave is nationally recognized as one of the best indigenous record labels in the world, Rose said.
No contracts were made, no papers signed, no selling their souls to the devil for this album, or the last.
This compilation brings forth nothing more than heart and soul of Native American roots and culture something Americans don't get the opportunity to experience very often.
Rose, of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee tribe in New Mexico, mentioned other artists from South Dakota and Arizona in the Lakota and Ojibway tribes, among others that contributed to Sacred Spirit II.
"I think the intent was to put together an artistic compilation of music that celebrates aspects of Native American culture to music," Rose said.
Recreating native music has opened the door for other artists to push through and find their voices.
Rose said the question remains whether it's the person or the music that constitutes native art or music. She holds to the belief that the product should receive native praise.
"By utilizing the instruments and creating the flavor, the mood, the feeling, the expression," native music has finally emerged as its true self, Rose said.
Although Rose's roots typically lie in contemporary folk Native American music, her intent in adding to Sacred Spirit II has created a stronger tie to the culture, the people and the land.
With three CDs of her own, this 40-something singer/songwriter has learned that everyone in the profession wants to tell their story of love and life.
It's just that some tell their stories differently than others and use varying mechanisms for projecting their ideas.
"This is a chance to express traditional vocals, which is always wonderful. It's more traditional in nature," Rose said. "It has more of a feel to it than singing a simple folk song."
Various chants give a human touch to the rattles, shakers, flutes, gourd rattles and hand drums used throughout each song.
Rose said she's received many praises of the album, saying it is relaxing, refreshing, inspiring and creative.
"It puts them in a place where they can work," Rose said. "There's a place that touches inside of them, it is a type that allows people to connect with themselves on a deeper level."