CD review: Michael Joseph O-glepi/Songs for Native American Flute and Guitar

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cdmusicreview.jpgOn Michael Joseph’s latest CD "O-glepi" the sub-title is "Songs for Native American Flute and Guitar" but the album also includes the use of several other instruments; spare use, minimal use of special

effects – sound-bytes in the background. The sun has begun to shine and the combination of guitar and flute begins to haunt me, a romantic notion of loves gone by, of win or lose, of beauty and the beast, of flute and guitar, these sounds won’t leave me alone.

The Spanish tone of the song Redrock reminds me of the Spanish origin of the guitar and I wonder then if the Spanish conquistadores brought a guitar with them. They certainly brought horses with them.

The fourth song on the CD, Traditional, plays on the little I-pod shuffle that I listen to and I am transported to a place of peace and serenity as the medicine man plays a rattle over me and prays with

such spiritual fervor that a tear wells up in my eye. The song is performed on a Traditional five-hole flute.

"O-glepi is Lakota for shadow. It is a perfect title for music that profiles the harsh, yet honorable life that the Plains peoples embraced. Even today there is no stronger example of tradition than that of the Native American people. Michael Joseph has put history to music and he has done it well."

<img src="http://thecirclenews.org/images/stories/december08/cdmusicreview.jpg" style="float:right">On Michael Joseph’s latest CD "O-glepi" the sub-title is

"Songs for Native American Flute and Guitar" but the album also

includes the use of several other instruments; spare use, minimal use

of special

effects – sound-bytes in the background. The sun has begun to shine and

the combination of guitar and flute begins to haunt me, a romantic

notion of loves gone by, of win or lose, of beauty and the beast, of

flute and guitar, these sounds won’t leave me alone.

The Spanish tone of the song Redrock reminds me of the Spanish origin

of the guitar and I wonder then if the Spanish conquistadores brought a

guitar with them. They certainly brought horses with them.

The fourth song on the CD, Traditional, plays on the little I-pod

shuffle that I listen to and I am transported to a place of peace and

serenity as the medicine man plays a rattle over me and prays with

such spiritual fervor that a tear wells up in my eye. The song is performed on a Traditional five-hole flute.

"O-glepi is Lakota for shadow. It is a perfect title for music that

profiles the harsh, yet honorable life that the Plains peoples

embraced. Even today there is no stronger example of tradition than

that of the Native American people. Michael Joseph has put history to

music and he has done it well."

I have always felt that there is much musical territory to explore

between the contemporary and traditional forms. The combining of the

various elements that make up these forms and translating them to song

and recording is the cutting edge of the evolution of music. The song

Rosebud begins in the earphones of the little aquamarine I-pod

technology that is hustling me into the new millennium. I am

swept away in a mixture of awe and disgust. Awe for the miracle that

reveals itself in my footsteps every day. Disgust for the dirty,

smelly, lewd city of Minneapolis.

I am reminded of the sun dance that I attended on the Rosebud. I

assumed the position of fire keeper and keeping the campfire going.

Gathering wood, firing kindling to get it going, putting a pot of

coffee on. How powerful was that? Incredible! I have never seen nor

will I ever see again anything as powerful as that. It changed my life.

Take my word for it; unless you’re sitting next to a beautiful woman,

in front of the fireplace with a wine glass in your hand, solo flute

sucks. Flute playing is much like a poetry reading, suicidal boredom

at the very least.

I am not impressed by solo flute and the only man on the flute that I

would love to hear solo doesn’t really do solo: R. Carlos Nakai pushed

the envelope, bumped the craft of playing a traditional flute up a

notch by experimenting with the territory between traditional and

contemporary. I have nothing but admiration for that kind of genius.

Michael Joseph’s musical statement comes across with earthen heart and

soul. "Music for the sake of music." His song called Song Sparrow makes

me feel like an eagle. I’m riding high now and I’m headed east into the

sun. For more info on Michael Joseph see his website at:

www.myspace.com/michaeljoseph.