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Best of Echoes 2010
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ICONS OF ECHOES
Over the years certain artists have emerged as icons of the Echoes soundscape. These are musicians who shifted the direction of music, whose work influenced a generation and usually , musicians who also tend to be articulate thinkers about their art. In this series, you'll get all of the features Echoes has produced on these artists, often encompassing their entire careers.

R. Carlos Nakai:
One of Ten Artists for 10 Years of Echoes
In 1999 we broadcast a series of features on the 10 most important artists for the first decade of Echoes. R. Carlos Nakai was #4 on the list. R. Carlos Nakai is a story-teller, but most of his tales are woven with Native American flutes made from wood and eagle bones, drums, and chanting. A native of the Navajo and Ute tribes, Carlos draws his inspirations from Native American culture, but brings it into the 20th century by weaving new variations and improvisations, and creating subtleOrchestrations with digital delays and echo. He has single handledly launched a generation of Native flute players that includes Spotted Eagle, Gary Stroutsos, Mary Youngblood and Coyote Oldman. In this 10th Anniversary sound portrait, we draw from earlier features as well as new
testimonials to R. Carlos Nakai.

 


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R. CARLOS NAKAI: NATIVE FLUTE MAGICIAN
One of the first living room concerts we recorded was in R. Carlos Nakai's home in Tucson. He's played live on the show four times since then and been featured five times. R. Carlos Nakai single-handedly launched the Native American Music scene with just a simple cedar flute. He's expanded his traditions to embrace pianist Peter Kater, guitarist William Eaton and the Japanese Wind Travelin' Band. His solo flute albums are staples for anyone seeking a contemplative, spiritual sound. We talk with R. Carlos and many of his collaborators to reveal Native music with universal resonance. R. Carlos Nakai was #4 on our list of 10 ARTISTS FOR TEN YEARS OF ECHOES. In this series of features, you'll hear why he's one of the Icons of Echoes.

R. Carlos Nakai's Desert Winds
This is the first feature and interview we ever ran with R. Carlos Nakai in 1990. R. Carlos Nakai is a Native American musician and artist, and a storyteller, born of the Navajo and Ute tribes. He weaves his tales with words, traditional drums, and his many Native American flutes, playing solo concerts, using digital delays and in his group Jackalope, synthesizers. Echoes traveled to the desert of Tucson to hear the desert
winds of R. Carlos Nakai.

 


R. Carlos Nakai & Peter Kater: Native Chamber Music
R. Carlos Nakai began working with pianist Peter Kater on Kater's CD, Homage, but they really consummated their musical relationship on an album of Native flute and piano improvisations called Natives in 1990. Since then, they've collaborated on several CDs and soundtracks, articulating a Native American Chamber music vision with Katers piano and arrangements and Nakai's flutes and chants. We talked to the two artists in 1992.

 


R. Carlos Nakai & William Eaton:
Desert Winds & Alien Strings
William Eaton is a luthier who makes hybrid stringed instruments like the lyra-harp guitar and the 31-stringed O'ele'n strings. He's also the only non-Native musician on the Canyon Record label. R. Carlos Nakai and Eaton have been collaborating together since their 1988 album, Carry the Gift. Since then they've recorded a Christmas album together and added percussionist Will Clipman to their group for albums like Ancestral Voices and In A Distant Place. We interviewed them for this feature in 1995.

 


R. Carlos Nakai & The Wind Travelin' Band
The merging of cultures and cross-pollination of music was the dominant theme of the late 20th century. Purists are becoming harder to find and musicians who were once keepers of tradition are now collaborating with musicians from other cultures. In 1994 Native America met native Japan when flutist R. Carlos Nakai went to the island nation and met up with the Wind Travelin' Band and Oki Kano, a member of the Ainu, Japan's native peoples. They recorded Island of Bows and did a very brief western tour. We gathered the musicians together in Sacramento, California where they also performed an Echoes Living Room Concert.

 


A Living Room Concert with
R. Carlos Nakai, William Eaton & Will Clipman
In 2001 we gathered with R. Carlos Nakai again. This time for a series of concerts in Boise Idaho and Ashland/Medford, Orgeon. At the time, we talked with the three musicians about their latest album, in a Distant Place. R. Carlos Nakai articulates a world between cultures. On In A Distant Place, he merges his native flutes with Tibetan Nawang Khechog's flutes and voice, intertwined and morphed through the hybrid guitar string orchestrations of William Eaton and tribal rhythms of Will Clipman. We gathered three members of this group together in a global kiva to reveal a music between worlds.

 

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