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.
listen>> (approx. 7 minutes)
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R. CARLOS NAKAI: NATIVE FLUTE MAGICIAN
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.
Carlos Nakai's Desert Winds
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.
Carlos Nakai & Peter Kater: Native Chamber Music
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.
Carlos Nakai & William Eaton:
Desert Winds & Alien Strings
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
Carlos Nakai & The Wind Travelin' Band
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.
Living Room Concert with
R. Carlos Nakai, William Eaton & Will Clipman
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.