Dancing Into Silence

reviewed by Kristine Morris

R. Carlos Nakai, William Eaton and Will Clipman

Dancing Into Silence“The sound, the sine wave pattern of the instrument itself, will move people on different levels,” says Native American flute master R. Carlos Nakai. “There are chakras, or sound centers, in our human body, and I think the Native American flute works in a way to effect a kind of healing, a kind of relaxation — a meditative or reflective state... The Native American flute allowsme to speak from my soul, from my heart, in a language that can be understood by anyone at any moment in time.”

In this, Nakai’s first recording with innovative guitarist and instrument maker William Eaton and pan-global percussionist WillClipman after a nine-year hiatus, the musicians were given a challenge by their producer, Canyon Records president Robert Doyle: anything that remotely resembled a “song” was not to be included on the album. “Instead, I wanted these gifted artists to engage in a spontaneous musical conversation,” says Doyle, “with all the irregularity and even ambiguity of spoken conversation, listening closely, intimately, to each other and giving silence its place as a fourth partner.”

Nakai, who says that he closely observes his audience as he plays live concerts, adjusting what he does to meet their needs moment to moment, also knows the exquisite, focused attention that musicians must give to each other as they play together, and it is obvious that Eaton and Clipman are masters of listening as well. The simple and natural sound of Nakai’s cedar flute and eagle-bone whistle complement Eaton’s high-tech multi-stringed instruments and Clipman’s sensuous percussion to create music that is at once elemental and contemporary.

For anyone who loves the recent direction of Nakai’s work, this album will be a treasured listening experience and a welcome accompaniment to meditation, yoga, or massage. It creates a relaxing sacred space within which to experience the wonder of being alive and fully present in the moment.


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