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MP3 The Woodland Consort - Woodland Winds

An inspired blend of 3 musical traditions - classical, folk & Native American - performed on classical guitar, folk harp & Woodland Indian (Ojibway) flute. Hauntingly beautiful songs dedicated to the four orders of creation from Woodland Indian tradition.

7 MP3 Songs
WORLD: Native American, NEW AGE: New Age

An inspired blend of three different musical traditions – classical, folk & Native American - masterfully arranged and performed on guitar, harp, and Ojibway flute.

Hauntingly beautiful songs dedicated to the four orders of creation according to Woodland Indian teaching.

"The Great Spirit first created the physical world of earth, water, fire and air (Earth Anthem). Next the Great Spirit created the plant world of trees, flowers and fruits (Woodland Winds). The third order of creation included all of the animals, birds, fish and other creatures that live on Mother Earth (Feather Song). Finally, the Great Spirit created the fourth and last order, which was man and woman (Homesteader’s Waltz). The first three orders of creation can survive without man, but man cannot survive without the first three. Thus, we should respect all that the Great Spirit has created, and live in harmony and balance with Mother Earth."

Frank Anakwad Montano is of Ojibway Indian and Mexican descent. Anakwad is his Ojibway name, which means “Cloud”. He resides on the Red Cliff Reservation on the shores of Lake Superior in northern Wisconsin. He crafts cedar Woodland Indian flutes, performs, and provides workshops on traditional Woodland Indian flute music.

Steve Eckels is a solo guitar performer who blends traditional American folk songs with his background in jazz and classical music to create a unique style and expansive repertoire.

Steve got his first guitar in 1965 at the age of ten, and hasn’t stopped playing since. He received a Bachelor''s Degree in guitar from Berklee College of Music and a Master''s Degree from New England Conservatory. He holds a music education certification from the state of Montana, and currently teaches a high school guitar program in northwest Montana.

Steve is the author of numerous guitar books and recordings for MEL BAY publications. His guitar articles have been featured in "Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine", "Teaching Music" (MENC), "Teaching Guitar" (MEL BAY), and "Guitar Sessions" (MEL BAY).

Steve Eckels’ concert repertoire spans classical masterpieces such as Bach, Albeniz and Tarrega to virtuoso solo guitar arrangements of American traditional music such as blues, gospel, cowboy, Stephen Foster and others. He performs for special community events where his repertoire also includes pop, country, jazz and Latin American music. He also has recordings of his Classical and American Traditional music available through his website: https://www.tradebit.com

The following review of Woodland Winds by The Woodland Consort was written by Bill Camplin and appeared in the Summer 1991 issue of “Wisconsin Academy Review”:

The Woodland Consort, with composer Steven Zdenek Eckels on guitar, Eric K. Sorensen on folk harp, and Anakwad (Frank Montano) on Ojibway Indian flute, have released a recording dedicated to the traditional Woodland Indians’ teachings of the four orders of creation: the physical world, the plant world, the creation of animals, and lastly, you guessed it. This introspective recording combines many simpler themes into a complex network of sounds, rhythms, and melodies which emerge more clearly with each listening. The four movements that make up Woodland Winds are titled “Earth Anthem (Gaia Gaia)”, “Woodland Winds”, “Feather Song”, and “Homesteader’s Waltz”.

“Earth Anthem” contains beautiful exchanges between Sorensen’s harp and Eckels’ classical guitar, a declarative flute solo, flute and guitar exchanges, and distinctive tones from Sorensen’s violin uke, an instrument sounding much like the bowed psaltery.

The second and third movements each have similar nebulous beginnings out of which clear, simple, memorable themes emerge from the pleasantly confusing opening images. Melodic phrases and interesting dialogues are woven into these titles as well. Eckels uses a relaxed, jazzy style with some wonderful rhythm/percussion guitar work to give “Woodland Winds” its distinctive place on this recording. “Feather Song” has Eckels showing a classical guitar style throughout, interspersed with several different anthem and ballad-like melodies which serve, as most of Eckels’ composing does on this record, to constantly refocus one’s attention on the surroundings. Included is a prayerful flute solo by Anakwad just beyond midpoint in this selection, with percussion added by Sorensen on skin drum and Eckels’ strong rhythmic guitar.

Lastly, “Homesteader’s Waltz” is just that, its intimate three-quarter time providing purposeful tempo for two hearts, dancing lightly, wordless in their combined memory. This old-timey sound, with harmonica and mandolin, gives way to a four-four-time section that seems to sum up all that has gone before. The consort returns to three-quarter time and ends with a softly-lit waltz. This is the only selection that feels indoors – as it should.

Sorensen’s playing is mostly unobtrusive and supportive; it befriends and aids Eckels’ compositions. His folk harp and the classical guitar complement each other over a three-octave plus range. Anakwad’s Ojibway flute has an airiness of tone akin to a steam calliope. His solos have a wood thrush song quality to them; he tails off at the end of most phrases as a loon does. In fact he adds loon calls with his flute throughout the first three movements, as if the story were being narrated by the great northern diver itself!

Eckels’ classical/electrical guitar is recorded with somewhat the same effect as would result from placing an ear on the body of the guitar while playing it. This is a very rich sound indeed. Throughout this recording, Eckels exhibits his combined skills of composing, arranging, and performing. His sense of tonality and percussion are refined, as is his technique. He would be considered a masterful guitarist in any province.

This isn’t the music of the hunt or the freeway. It’s the music of those quiet, wordless summer days spent exploring the details of the woodlands: giggling streams, small voices, and light breezes inferring and relating fragility and complexity so amazing as to have emerged from the elemental world of earth, water, fire and air. In the belief that all events are tied in some way to history, it must be hoped that these respectful gestures by the Woodland Consort will be added to the deeds done and yet to be done that may someday atone for the sins the Europeans visited, however unintended, upon the native tribes of this incredible and majestic continent.

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