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Deborah Martin & Erik Wøllo — Kinishba
(Spotted Peccary SPM-9067, 2024, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2024-02-28

Kinishba Cover art

In 2009 Deborah Martin and Erik Wøllo released their first collaboration together, Between Worlds. Now all these years later the follow-up is at hand. Kinishba is both an deeply authentic and highly respectful perspective into the remembrance ceremonies of the Apache people. Like the earlier collaboration, much of what is presented across the album’s nine tracks relies on field recordings of Native American guests’ chanting, drumming, flute, and mouth bow in order to achieve the authenticity required to recreate the magic at hand; the music was composed, performed and produced by both Martin and Wøllo, while the lyrics and booklet notes are Martin’s work, who also served as the lead singer for the project. The field recordings involved numerous guests at various locations around Arizona: Prince George (Navajo cedar flute), Alfredo Way, Leno Edwards and Edgar Perry (Apache Gaan dancer chanting and Apache drums), and Red Eagle (mouth bow); Wøllo’s synthesizers, programming, guitars and percussion create the stirring majestic soundtracks alongside Martin’s vocals, hand drums, loops, rainsticks, shakers, odd percussives, and Roland V synth. The opener, “Burial Ground,” is a powerful piece that sets the stage for all that follows, with Martin’s spiritual vocals juxtaposed with the Apache chants and native drums, while the remaining space slowly fills with synthesizers and other mysterious sounds. “Prayer Song” has no lyrics per se, but Way, Edwards, and Perry brighten the piece up with chanting while Martin plays wood flute, clay ocarina, shakers, sticks and tambourine. Red Eagle’s mouth bow and Prince George’s cedar flute create a unique backdrop for Wøllo’s percussion and Martin’s chants on “Nature’s Paths.” The title Kinishba refers to a long abandoned 5000 foot high Mogollon Pueblo village constructed sometime between the 13th and 15th century located on Apache tribal lands; it’s on the title track that Martin provides one of the most engaging vocal performances of the entire album, while the mysterious percussive sounds that abound as the piece nears its six minute conclusion are nothing short of beautiful. All taken, Kinishba is a sacred soundworld for the intrepid listener that begs for repeat plays.

Filed under: New releases, 2024 releases

Related artist(s): Deborah Martin, Erik Wøllo

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