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Christmas comes to Navajoland as the Todi Neesh Zhee Singers present five Christmas songs done in traditional song and dance style interspersed with four social dance songs. These popular singers are joined by Roger Begay in a traditional style Christmas song and singers Radmilla Cody, Socie Saltwater and Consuela Chacon in Christmas standards sung in both Navajo and English.
Here is something very unique and cool for the holiday season. On Navajo Christmas, the Todi Neesh Zhee Singers & Friends do something I had never previously experienced. They interpret classic Christmas chestnuts such as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer as traditional Navajo song-and-dance pieces, and the result is mesmerizing. The TNZ Singers also present four social dance songs, and the final four cuts provide more familiar singing on well-loved holiday pieces with lyrics sometimes in English, sometimes in Navajo.
For those who enjoy Gregorian chants, this music is fascinating; the sing-song Navajo chanting floats over a constant drum beat, and the chanters/singers proceed in unison. The ambiance is both relaxing and stirring. On these pieces, the artists occasionally break out in English, singing/chanting, 'You better watch out, you better not cry, Santa Claus is coming to town!', and the effect is rather startling. On Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, soloist Roger Begay gives richly-textured 'song', chanting at brighter, higher tones. On Joy to the World, Radmilla Cody delivers an intensely lovely a cappella rendition, accompanied only by maracas, for the most part. I especially enjoyed Consuela Chacon's excellent a cappella Silent Night, done in English with a slightly jazzy edge. Very sweet.
Sick of the same old shopping mall music? Interested in exploring the roots of Americana? The Todi Neesh Zhee Singers (& Friends) will sweep you away to Navajoland for the holidays. Should be much warmer than Minnesota, and the entertainment will keep you well satisfied through the season.
(Reviewed in 2007) --By Carol Swanson - ChristmasReviews website
|1. Grandma's Navajo Christmas|
|2. I've Journeyed Far To Dance a Beautiful Dance With You|
|3. Under the Mistletoe|
|4. You're the Only One|
|5. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer|
|6. Summer Dreams|
|7. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town|
|8. I'm Just Crazy About You|
|9. Feliz Navidad|
|10. My Christmas And a Happy New Year - Roger Begay|
|11. Joy To the World - Radmila Cody|
|12. Away In a Manger - Socie Saltwater|
|13. Medley: Come All Ye Faithful/Little Drummer Boy - Radmilla Cody|
|14. Silent Night - Consuela Chacon|