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Talisman celebrates the twenty-fifth anniversary of R. Carlos Nakai's first release, Changes, and returns to the pure, haunting sound of the Native American flute unaccompanied by other instruments. Talisman is a continuous soundscape as Nakai alternates songs for one flute and songs for two flutes in a rich tapestry of music so soothing, it unwrinkles mind and soul.
Twenty-five years ago, a friend gave R. Carlos Nakai a Native American flute to see what the former jazz trumpeter could do with it. Over the years, Nakai along with Kevin Locke, Mary Youngblood and other stalwarts had brought Native American flute to mass consciousness. But similar to an artist such as Mary Youngblood, Nakai took the indigenous flute into new realms, (European classical, jazz, and ethnic world sounds). The 62 year old flautist even journey into the realm of electronica on a couple of his albums.
Nakai's 25th anniversary release (with Canyon Records), Talisman travels full circle and we find Nakai once again performing on solo Native American flute on every other track. You will also find flute duos and the thoughtful Sunrise Prayer in Beauty. Talisman harks back to Nakai's first recording with Canyon Records, Changes. And true to its name, listening to Changes certainly brought much needed transformation to my life.
It's easy to imagine Nakai standing alone on the rim of a canyon playing his flute to the rising sun while perhaps an eagle or a falcon flies overhead. Nakai's repertoire whether performed in a symphonic hall, museum, or on someone's boom box, conjures the natural world. The title Talisman suggests this type of nature-base magic, something mysterious and alluring. Yet, something people living in the mundane world surrounded by too much stuff and emotional baggage cannot fully appreciate. You cannot hear the call of the wild and consumerism in the same breath. At some point a crossroads is reached and we must choose.
Listeners can still appreciate the haunting beauty of Nakai's flute as he performs songs with titles, Coyote Calling, Celestial Realm, and Cedar Breeze. But I suspect in listening to any heartfelt and soulful indigenous music, that the natural world will come calling and it will exact a price which will eventually lead to freedom and universal oneness.
As you can see, this is not an average music review. I am standing at that crossroads now as I receive more of Nakai's musical gift--his offering to us. Nakai picked up the indigenous flute 25 years ago to see where it would take him, and each of us, must take up our unique path to see where in 25 years it will take us. And starting today, make a choice to ensure that the planet is still around in all of its beauty 25 years from now and beyond. --By Moon Child - The Whole Music Experience 'In Review - R. Carlos Nakai's 25th Year Celebration'
The first CD of Native American flute music that I ever listened to was Earth Spirit, by R. Carlos Nakai. That was back in 1988, years before I began reviewing music. Nakai's uncanny ability to evoke the gentle spirit of Mother Earth has touched my heart countless times in the intervening years. Now, with the release of Talisman, which celebrates the 25th anniversary of his first release, Changes, Nakai has come full circle.
Blessed with prodigious output, Nakai has recorded with an orchestra, released several excellent jazz titles as part of the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet, and participated in numerous collaborations with musicians such as William Eaton and Peter Kater. While I thoroughly enjoy just about everything Nakai does, I'm especially fond of his solo flute music. Whether it is the aforementioned Earth Spirit, Mythic Dreamer or Canyon Trilogy, Nakai conjures a profound sense of peace and tranquility with every note.
Talisman captures the essence of Nakai's exquisite touch on the flute. Haunting, evocative, deliciously relaxing, Talisman allows the listener effortlessly to step away from the cares of the day and float down a crystal clear mountain stream through a sun-dappled forest. While every track on Talisman is well worth repeated listening, I want to highlight the glittering promise of 'Glimmering Dawn,' the luminous grace of "Happiness Carries Me," and the sacred chanting that accompanies Nakai's flute on "Sunrise Prayer, in Beauty."
For those who love Nakai's Native American flute music, Talisman is a must-have. For everyone who appreciates deeply peaceful, serenely sacred music, whether for massage, meditation, slow form yoga or simply relaxing at the end of a busy day, I joyfully give Talisman my highest recommendation. --By Steve Ryals - Drunk with Wonder : Awakening to the God Within
The master is back! This time with a very moving, contemplative disc. 'Talisman' is stunningly beautiful in scope, Nakai has truly done himself proud with this effort. I was here to fore amazed with his work on 'Sanctuary', which received a Grammy nommination. I think 'Talisman' will do at least as well. --By Brian Hendrickson - Host of Native Spirit / Native Music Director of WFHB Community Radio in