Winter Moons

Spirit Nation

Karuna Records, 2001

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Spirit Nation sounds complicated. After all, the lead singer is half Native American and half Israeli, and sings in Ojibway, English, and Hebrew; that in and of itself makes this a rather ambitious project with definite UN-peacekeeping-force overtones. With something this eclectic, one is always apprehensive as to whether the goulash of cultural references will work. On my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Winter Moons, it does work, and works astonishingly well.

Make no mistake; Spirit Nation is very much lead singer Tamara Podemski's project. While the backing musicianship is competent to talented, providing an interesting synthesis of traditional, trance, pop, and dance as background, the feature is Podemski's arching, intricate, razor-precise vocals. While superficially similar to New Age etheric warblers like Enya, Podemski has more grit and fire to her voice. The liner notes indicate that this was envisioned as a tribute to her twin heritages, and the passion and fire in her singing shows that she truly did mean to honor all those who have gone before her, and better than that, succeeded in that honoring.

Production wise, Winter Moons is flawless. (Ah, why I like the 21st century -- the fact that there are fewer CDs that sound bad on the recording end). The musicianship is good, albeit rarely noteworthy, save the delicate flutework of Steve Tavaglione. Even when Podemski doesn't sing, such as on "Spirit Medicine", the CD doesn't lose steam.

Tracks worth of note include the opening "Ododoyuniwan", the mixed Ojibway , Hebrew, and English of "All My Relations", the strong triumphant "Iroquoian Sky Woman", and the gentle "Tipikan (Lullaby)". There isn't a bad track on Winter Moons, however; it's solid from beginning to end.

For lovers of world music, this is one of the best things I've heard in a long time, and worth the effort to search it out. Grab Winter Moons today.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2002 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Karuna Records, and is used for informational purposes only.