Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Magic Flute: R. Carlos Nakai and "Dawn's Mirage: Ancestral Home"

Today's random tune should help awaken you. Dawn's Mirage: Ancestral Home is by noted Native American flautist R. Carlos Nakai. Born in Flagstaff, Arizona, Nakai is of Navajo and Ute heritage. Given that his music is so peaceful, it is hard to believe that he started out his musical career at Northern Arizona University playing brass instruments in a marching band, and that he enlisted in the US Navy as a sophomore so that he might play with the US Navy Band. After passing the audition, he was 28th on the Armed Forces School of Music waiting list, but an auto accident damaged his mouth and made it impossible for him to play brass.

Not long after his accident, he was presented with a traditional cedar flute as a gift, and challenged to master it. And master it he has! Drawing from Native tradition but also blending Native music with that of other cultures, Nakai has created the only two Native American albums to be certified gold and platinum. He has worked with musical luminaries such as American composer Philip Glass, Israeli cellist Udi Bar-David, Tibetan flautist Nawang Khechog, American flautist Paul Horn and slack key guitarist Keola Beamer. He has been inducted into the Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame. Dawn's Mirage: Ancestral Home is on his 1993 platinum album Canyon Trilogy.