Funny thing. As long as I've been listening to and reviewing music, I've not run across a Native American flute player until now. My exposure has been basically limited to background music for documentaries and movies, most of those regarding Hollywood's musical view of either the vast expanse of somewhat barren land or a usually negative spiritual experience of some kind. It was not an altogether bad introduction, because the Native American flute when played can conjure up some highly spiritual and beautiful music, but it was, I find, somewhat limiting.
Granger lives in New Mexico. While driving through the State a few years ago, I was taken by the immenseness of it, the openness. While the lesser of us see nothing, there are those who know better. My God, just the amount of air was daunting. Granger knows it but he lives it, a half mile from the Rio Grande. That is home. That is part of his inspiration.
The titles of the songs alone tell you what is contained in A Place Called Peace. Titles like The Dog Star and Ghost Dancers and Rio Grande Lullaby and Apache Tears. Even Double-Barrel Train Wreck, a folk-dance of a tune, builds around the old Iron Horse—a simple train to one people, a creature of mysticism to another.
The opening track, Za Zee Za Zu Zing, is an anomaly in that it is the only song on which Granger sings. A light, upbeat song, it has a tinge of the Far East or Japan in its structure, though I am certainly no expert on ethnic music and it could very well be Native American. It is beautiful and hopeful and introspective only in story, which I leave you to research. Granger's voice is a treat, though, and one cannot help wonder why he does not sing more. But then maybe it was not in the scope of this album. It is about "A Place Called Peace," a presence touched upon in Za Zee Za Zu Zing, a place where most of us want to go when the world seems overbearing. It reminds us that it is not the world that is overbearing, but the people in it.
Randy Granger is an interesting guy, judging by the music and his interest in the arts. He obviously loves New Mexico and probably promotes the State wherever he plays. He would probably be the first person to say that while he wrote the music, the world created it. If that makes no real sense to you, let me put it this way: when you hear it, you will understand.
If Native American flute intrigues you at all, I suggest a visit to YouTube to hear Granger himself not only play, but explain his love for both the land and the music. If nothing else, it shows us that life is bigger than Hollywood (and that Hollywood and the Internet are not all there is to life).
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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