Liner Notes


The Echoes of our Ancestors

The rhythm of the drum calls the distant voices of our ancestors from the past. Perhaps the most traditional in nature of all the tracks, The Echoes of our Ancestors is the very first blessing we give in ceremony, Mitakuye Oyasin. It is the first dance step in the Pow Wow circle. It is the first and last stone used in a sweat, it gives thanks for all living things, and it gives thanks for the life they have provided us.  

Missing You (Crying Beyond my Tears)

At some point in our lives we have all felt the longing of a loved one who is not there. Missing You speaks clearly of such a time. Alone in the darkness of a cold February night I called your name, but you where not there. The keyboard sings as soft as your touch, the rhythms as different and distinct as each of us, meld together as one, and the flute gently cries beyond my tears. 

Hawk Cries in the City

One day some years ago I found myself in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Boston’s business district. The sound of traffic and people surrounded me, then, as though in a dream I heard the high shrill cry of a hawk. All of the city’s sounds began to fade. There she was, perched on a high ledge in this canyon of glass and steel. She cried once more, then spread her wings and took to the sky, reflected in the windows as she flew overhead, she cried one last time, and it was as though she had spoken to me. Telling me this was not the path you were meant to take, this is not the life your ancestors had intended for you, stop chasing somebody else’s dream and find your way back home. Then with one more beat of her wings, she was gone. I am grateful to the creator for these lessons, grateful for being gifted with enough common sense to know that I should stop and listen when a hawk cries in the city. 

A Redder shade of the Blues

What is it that draws me to this place, time and again? Was it the old blind man who played the blues sax, who returned night after night, to this place to bellow out his emotion into the darkness?  One night I brought my flute with me and followed his lead, I would quietly play along as best I could. Trying to understand his style and the differences between our instruments. This went on for a long time, then one night he was gone. I returned night after night hoping he would be there. Years later I stand here once again wondering what ever happened to him, not even knowing the name of the man who taught my how to play a redder shade of the blues. 

For the Love of Zia

Zia is the nickname I have for my wife Megan, who fills my days with happiness, when I’m cold she holds me and keeps me warm, when I’m sad she gives me a reason to laugh. She fills me with gratitude, and keeps me on my path. I know just how empty my world would be if not for the love of Zia.  

Two Coyotes and the Killing Joke

One day two coyotes played a silly game of what they called “Dots and Feathers”. They danced around each other wearing saffron vales and a feathered headdress, singing, “What kind of Indian am I”? They danced and laughed so hard that by the time they stopped they were so dizzy they had forgotten their own culture. Thankfully, we are not coyote, we know who we are and will always remember no matter how hard we dance and laugh. 

Awakened by an Aztec Wind

Was it you? Did you whisper something to me while I was asleep? Was it a distant roll of thunder, the sound of fireworks from the all-night festival in the valley? Was it the touch of your hair against my flesh, was it your breath, or was I simply awakened by an Aztec wind? 

Coyote’s Dilemma (The Road Leads Both Ways)

Coyote wandered out of the woods one morning, and found herself at a crossroads. One road was the good red road that led to Indian country; the other was a highway the led to a large city. What was Coyote to do? She did not know which road to take. She looked both ways but became more confused with every passing moment. Them she had an idea, she would give birth to Red Raven Blue and see which way he would go. With this Red Raven Blue was brought into the world. Coyote looked upon her son and wondered which way he would go. But she was tired so she lay down to rest. While she slept Red Raven Blue caught the first Gray Hound bus that came along, never to see the old Coyote again. It is said that Coyote still sits at the crossroads wondering which way to go. 

Origami Dream

Red Raven was fast asleep when she came to him. First a kiss, then a gentle touch. Raven awoke and looked into her eyes, two pools of deepest brown.  He reached out and touched her smooth skin. Slowly she wrapped her arms around him, sharing her warmth with him. They kissed and in their embrace wrestled as one, enfolded in passion, entangled as one. Raven awoke from this Origami Dream to find he was only tangled in the sheets.  

Canyon of the Painted Ponies

Raven had wandered this land for so long he had almost forgotten that he was looking for his home. He was so tired he felt he could not take another step. He slept, but upon awakening he saw them, one at first then another and another. They were the Painted Ponies. Such beauty he had never seen, with such grace in every movement, all dancing around him as he sat looking on in disbelief. Then, suddenly the dance stopped and a beautiful white stallion stepped forward, it lowered it's head and urged Red Raven Blue to clime up on to it's back. Without fear Raven obliged and sat upon the back of this Spirit Horse, for knew he was not passing over. He was being honored, he was being given a ride home.

To the Eighth Generation

In a time gone by our elders would have to make decisions that would affect every member of their nation. These decisions were not made for that moment and that moment only, they were made carefully, with consideration for the next seven generations. That was long ago, and now we are that seventh generation. What do we have to show for the careful considerations of our ancestors, for the decisions they made so long ago. Beyond that what do we have to offer our children? What do we have to help them connect to their past? What can we give to the eighth generation? 

The Echoes of our Ancestors (Reprise)

As we enter the circle with a blessing and a song, we must leave the way we entered with a blessing and a song. In this way the circle can heal you, and all who enter. Listen for the echoes of our ancestor; it’s still out there. All we need to do is listen for the rhythm that calls their voices up from the past. Once we know their song, sing it to our children, in hopes that what we know of the past will not be lost to the future. 

Mitakuye Oyasin

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