Reviewed by Scott McKie B.P.
One Feather Staff
Northern Cree has built a reputation for being one of the most powerful drum groups on the circuit today. They sing with a force and passion that keeps the arena jam-packed when they’re singing an intertribal song and produces some great pow wow contest moments.
You know the vibe a group is going for on an album when the first track is entitled “Rip It In”. Composed by Joe Syrette, this vocable song sets the tone for the album and really characterizes the strong leads and harmonies that has made Northern Cree a pow wow staple for several decades.
In my opinion, the show-stopper on this album is track #7 entitled “Secret Weapon”. Composed by Miksow Deschamps in the Cree language, the song’s words translate as, “This drum, it takes care of us. Now come together and honor it.”
The song starts out jamming and just goes up from there. The album was recorded live at the 22nd Annual Red Mountain Pow Wow held Nov. 1-2, 2008 on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa reservation in Arizona. The song is whistled which causes the singing and emotion to go through the roof.
One thing that must be mentioned when talking about this album is the singing of the women because it is outstanding. Many times these days you hear women back-up singers “going nasally” as I like to call it, but none of that here. The four women singers credited on the album (Penny McGilvery, Arianna Sheka, Raetavia Yazzie, and Martha Deschamps) really add to the overall sound with smooth vocals throughout.
I’m already looking forward to the next Northern Cree release!