Academic journal article The Canadian Journal of Native Studies

The Encyclopedia of Native Music

Academic journal article The Canadian Journal of Native Studies

The Encyclopedia of Native Music

Article excerpt

Wright-McLeod, Brian, The Encyclopedia of Native Music. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 2005. 451 pp. ISBN 0-8165-2447-5.

Wright-McLeod (Dakota Anishnabe) has omitted few to no recorded North American Native artists in this comprehensive work which includes even those artists who have made only one recording. His decadeslong background as a music journalist, a radio program host, and a freelance consultant of Native Music has given him good knowledge into who is doing what, and his extensive travel as a reporter for radio and print media gives him a wide view of the field. Indeed, his opening acknowledgments read like a "who's who" of the Native music world.

The text is organized into section and then alphabetically be the performer's last name. Although the sections lack a unified rationale, for those who know Native music they work. The sections are: Arctic/ Circumpolar Region; Chicken Scratch; Contemporary Music; Flute Music; Peyote Ritual Music; Powwow Music; and Traditional/Archival Music. Native Music covers several genres, from the traditional classic flute compositions of R. Carlos Nakai to the country and powwow recordings produced by Ness Michaels of Sunshine Records. This enormous variety problematizes any formal definition of 'Native' music, so WrightMcLeod tells us that it is both the music and the musicians that make it Native. It's music that is both ancient and a hybrid of the modern sounds that we hear today.

The brief descriptions of the artists are entertaining and occasionally give fascination personal details. …

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