Music Review: Singing Lights
Tony Duncan & Darrin Yazzie
“Music has always been a way of healing, a way to bring calm and peaceful energy back into one’s life,” writes Yellowbird Dancing, aka Tony Duncan, in the liner notes for his latest album, Singing Lights. Duncan’s powerful and sensitive playing of the Apache cane flute is perfectly accompanied here by the rhythmic guitar work of Darren Yazzie. The two musicians offer a seamless instrumental interplay that comes from years of creating sacred music together, including a longtime collaboration in the band Estun-Bah with drummer Jeremy Dancing Bull. Last year Duncan was honored with the “Artist of the Year” award at the 2013 Native American Music Awards for his album Earth Warrior.
The relaxing and smooth flute and guitar sounds of Singing Lights inspire spiritual reflection, contemplation, and a deep appreciation for family and friends. Duncan and Yazzie were raised in matrilineal cultures, Apache and Navajo respectively, and the song “Our Daughters” expresses an authentic appreciation for women. A complementary song is “Mother’s Beauty,” which honors the women who gave life to the current generation.
The connection between father and son is also affirmed on the song “My Son,” dedicated to Duncan’s son Naiche, named after the last chief of the free Apaches. Apache creation stories and cultural sensibilities serve as the backdrop for other songs including the lovely final track, “Beauty Surrounds Us.”