R. Carlos Nakai, the most commercially-successful Native American flutist of all time, hit a milestone recently when his album Canyon Trilogy sold its millionth copy, thus earning Platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America. According to Nakai's label, Canyon Records, Nakai is the first American Indian artist to achieve a platinum certification playing Native American music.
To mark the occasion, Canyon Records has released Canyon Trilogy Deluxe Platinum Edition, which contains the original Canyon Trilogy material plus five previously-unreleased tracks. Nakai also performed a "Platinum Concert" on January 23 at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix. Special guests included longtime collaborators William Eaton and Will Clipman, as well as current star flutist and hoop dancer Tony Duncan. Duncan was born in 1983, the year Nakai's first album was released by Canyon Records.
“What makes this Platinum Record utterly unique is that it is earned by an artist performing a traditional instrument in an ethnic musical genre presented on an album released by an independent record company,” said Robert Doyle, president of Canyon Records and producer of Canyon Trilogy, according to WorldMusicCentral.org. “Additionally, the music is primarily one instrument performing for one hour (three tracks have an overdubbed second flute). Nakai’s special artistic sense and his technical mastery of the flute creates music that immediately speaks to people. This music is used by many listeners for relaxation, meditation, and even therapy. No other artist in the industry has accomplished what Nakai did in Canyon Trilogy.”
Nakai was presented with the Platinum album at the January 23 concert, and turned it over to the MIM, to be placed in the museum's exhibit dedicated to him.
Raye photographed by Stephen LaMarche, stephenlamarche.com