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Orenda: Native American Songs Of Life


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Orenda
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Audio CD, August 25, 1998
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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Multitalented, award-winning composer and musician Joanne Shenandoah gets better with every album. On Orenda, the singer and instrumentalist, herself of Iroquois descent, is joined by Mohawk Lawrence Laughing; and their duets, including "Deer Dance" and "Unity," are among the album's strongest tracks. Shenandoah's voice is a rare gift; on Orenda, it's rich and clear, and never falters. The mix of backing instruments works well, including several percussion and wind instruments as well as guitars, while the spare arrangements allow Shenandoah's and Laughing's voices to stand out. The blend of the traditional and the contemporary in her music works very well indeed, bringing out the best of both. --Genevieve Williams

1. Passage (Prelude)
2. Across The Sky
3. I Am Your Friend
4. Our Mind Is One
5. Creator's Song
6. The Great Feathered Horse
7. In Love
8. All My Relations
9. The Four Legged Ones
10. Garter Dance
11. Deer Dance
12. Life Giver
13. You Are My Friend
14. Hunting
15. Unity
16. Prophecy Song

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 25, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Silver Wave
  • ASIN: B00000C2HX
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,354 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By an eclectic - on May 25, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I picked this disc up by chance on a vacation in Yellowstone with my family. It quickly became the signature music for a magical journey.

Joanne Shenandoah is a quietly powerful advocate for her musical and cultural heritage, which she presents on this disc with deep compassion. The album title means the oneness of all things, and the songs explore that theme in a few of its many components.

The album begins with the speaking voice of Lawrence Laughing describing the meaning behind the disc. We are here not just to live physically, but to be present and available spiritually. The final track brings this home in a most compelling way with lyrics (spoken in English by Shenandoah before they are sung in the native language) that emphasize our responsibility to stand up and be counted "in the spirit world." Like most good albums of its kind, this one represents life as a journey: "And when you are ready, O maker of life, I'll come home to you."

The female harmonies are simply stunning. Whether singing of love or friendship or reverence for life, they speak quietly but unmistakably to the central theme of the album --- oneness in different voices. A simple courtship dance, thoroughly accessible to children no less than to adults, is poignant in its simplicity and harmony.

Much recent "Native American" music has tended toward the New Age, and like artists in any genre, many Native American artists have sacrificed authenticity to make a buck. Not Shenandoah, at least not on this disc. The musical techniques are modernized, but the performers avoid catering to "pop" tastes and excessive sentimentality. Each tune is fresh, unique and purposeful, and Shenandoah uses rhythm as a complement to the music, not a substitute for it.

I recommend this as a first disc for anyone looking to begin exploring Native American themes through modern artists.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Paul on June 12, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I'm not one to do this sort of thing so here goes...
I happened to be sitting on the porch alone on a VERY dark night when the stars were out. I had my stereo beside me playing Orenda. The effect it had on my spirit was unreal. I don't know what it was, but I could feel SOMETHING... this is powerful music. Joanne, of Iroquois descent, is joined by Lawrence Laughing who is Mohawk; and their duets 'Passage' & 'Across The Sky' are the best Native songs I've ever heard. Shenandoah's voice is a rare gift - never faltering. This is quite simply the best Native album I've EVER heard, and I have over 200 albums.
ANYONE would be foolish not to get this album. You will not be disappointed!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 1, 1999
Format: Audio CD
The songs on this album shows the rare beautyful harmonies of the old Native American songs, and is backed by the flute and the drums in a way, so that it brings you straight to the campfire and the ceremonies. Creator's song and Prophecy song brought tears to my eyes the first time i heard this album. Beautyful work!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sharon S. Keith on August 11, 2000
Format: Audio CD
WHILE THE OTHERS TALKED I SLIPPED IN MY JUST-BOUGHT TAPE 'ORENDA' AND DROVE US HOME FROM THE TRADING POST. IT WAS DURING THE SECOND OR THIRD SONG THAT I HAD TO SLOW DOWN A BIT. BEFORE ME I SAW A TALL DARK FIGURE WITH A BLANKET ABOUT THE SHOULDERS. TALK FADED AWAY AS THIS PRESENCE SLIPPED THIS BLANKET AROUND ME AND OVER MY SHOULDERS. FOR A MOMENT TEARS CAME TO ME EYES FOR NO REASON AND I FELT THE MOST AMAZING PRESENCE OF ACCEPTANCE AND VALIDATION. I DROVE US ALL HOME LISTENING TO THIS TAPE AND EXPERIENCING A DEEP LOVE. FROM THEN ON I KEPT THE TAPE IN THE TRUCK, LISTENING TO IT BACK AND FORTH IN TRAVEL TO WORK, GROCERY STORE, WHEREVER. THEN IT CAME THE TIME TO PASS IT ON. MY LOVER'S FATHER, DYING IN THIS BODY OF CANCER, HAD HIS 80TH BIRTHDAY (SEVERAL STATES AWAY OF COURSE!). IT WAS ARRANGED FOR LOVER TO GO TO HIS FATHER. I GAVE THIS TAPE TO HIM TO TAKE TO HIS FATHER AS A GIFT FROM MY HEART TO HIS, THIS MAN (FRIEND) WHOM I WILL NEVER KNOW IN THIS BODY. SOMEDAY I WILL REPLACE IT. I WOULD LIKE FOR JOANNE TO KNOW SHE HAS TOUCHED US MEANINGFULLY BY BE WILLING TO BE A LINK FOR SPIRIT. THANK YOU, SWEETHEART. WE WILL CONTINUE TO SPREAD IT WITH YOU. AND WHAT IS REALLY FUNNY IS, HIS FATHER IS ONANDAGA, IN ROCHESTER, NEW YORK, IN THE SAME AREA OF THE WORLD AS JOANNE!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kat on August 15, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Joanne Shenandoah and Lawrence Laughing have been gifted with beautiful voices that come from the soul, from the heart, from the spirit. I have found the music calming, thought provoking, and most enjoyable. I have it on my computer at work. It reminds me of what is really important when the world around me is petty and small. This CD is worth every cent it costs.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 25, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I am of cherokee indian and very proud of my heritage. i really love her song i am your friend i just wisht he song would be longer as a sample.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 23, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I am not native american by blood,however my heart is. Joanne's music speaks to that part of me.I have no words to describe the emotions she envokes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Argiroff on August 22, 2007
Format: Audio CD
When i was on vacation a few years ago, I heard Joanne singing in one of the stores I was browsing in. Well I just couldnt help myself and asked the owner, "Who is that singing?". Well I bought her Cd, "Matriach" and it was wonderful! Several years later I found this CD "Orenda", online and I love it. I turned on all my friends and family to this mystical and addicting CD! Its powerful music, very healing and really relaxing. I have a convertible, and on some nights when the sky is clear and the stars are bright I drive up on a hill (with or without my boyfriend) and listen to the beautiful indian chanting songs and enjoy the sky. Its simply the most relaxing CD I have ever bought. Beautiful and intoxicating. You will not be disappointed with this CD. I am not of Indian descent but when I play this CD I feel like I can connect to Indian heritage and proud to be a part of it. In addition to the connection to this CD, it also brings you health and wealth and happiness. Dont know how it works.. but it is powerful stuff.. Play it.. listen to it.. you will love it!
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Orenda: Native American Songs Of Life
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