Music Review: Charity - Songs of the Native American Church
For thousands of years, peyote has been sanctified as a medicine for emotional healing and spiritual connection among the indigenous peoples of North and Central America. Despite attempts by governments to criminalize the use of peyote cactus and other sacred plants, the medicine continues to be a centerpiece for the Native American Church, established in 1910 to protect religious freedom.
Kevin Yazzie, a Diné from Arizona, was raised with a deep respect for the medicine and music of Native ceremonies, and he later found his life’s calling there. By the time he was 13 he was so inspired by his experiences with the Native American Church that he began composing music for ceremonies.
Charity: Songs of the Native American Church is the new CD from this spiritual vocalist, completing a four-album series that honors the powerful touchstones of faith, hope, love, and charity. Yazzie’s harmonized vocals on Charity resound as a sincere longing for healing, comfort, and wisdom. Accompanying the vocals are water drum and gourd, played on some tracks by Yazzie and on others by Vernon Salabye.
Yazzie, who lives in New Mexico with his wife and four children, writes in the notes for Charity: “We all face a point in our lives where we question ourselves, our strength, our faith, and our spirituality. This leads us back to our roots: our prayers and songs.”