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Music brightens the holidays

CHICAGO – Music has always made an excellent holiday gift, whether something one personally wrote or performed, tickets to a concert or the perennial – and lasting – compact disc or DVD. Running from $10 to $20, CDs are generally affordable and welcomed by all.

Those looking specifically for holiday music can check out the great new and classic CDs available this year, such as Jana’s Christmas songs sung in various Native languages (“American Indian Christmas,” 2005, Standing Stone Records), Redheart’s GRAMMY-nominated “Sacred Season” (2002, Red Sea Records), and Red Nativity’s “One Holy Night” (1997, Red Sea Records), featuring Brule. Some favorites are the classic compilations featuring Joanne Shenandoah, Mary Youngblood, Robert Mirabal, Lawrence Laughing, Peter Kater and others (“Prayer for Peace,” 2002, Silver Wave Records) and (“Winter Dreams,” 1993, Canyon Records).

The 2006 holiday season brings wonderful new offerings from established Native artists like Mary Youngblood (“Dance with the Wind,” Silver Wave Records), Robert Tree Cody and Will Clipman (“Heart of the Wind: Music for Native American Flute and Drums,” Canyon Records), the new release by R. Carlos Nakai, William Eaton and friends (“Reconnections,” Canyon Records), and Redheart (“Indian Summer,” Sound of America Records).

Those looking for something fresh just might fall in love with a couple of debut albums, both from Silver Wave Records. Fans of Native flute music will enjoy Johnny Whitehorse’s self-titled CD. The music created by this lifelong horseman evokes a time of other such horsemen riding across the plains and desert plateaus, and images of dancers and warriors celebrating around the drum.

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Another can’t-miss is the delightful debut by Shelley Morningsong’s “Out of the Ashes” (Silver Wave Records), in which she uses her compelling voice to deliver a message of healing and reclaiming one’s power.

One of the best spots to buy American Indian music is Matoska Trading Company, www.matoska.com, or call (800) 926-6286. To order directly from the record companies for mail orders, visit SilverWave at www.silverwave.com or call (800) SIL-WAVE; Canyon Records is online at www.canyonrecords.com, or call (800) 268-1141; SOAR can be found at www.soundofamerica.com, or call (800) 890-SOAR.