Two native flute players have collaborated to create a distinctive meditation CD, combining the best of Eastern
and Western practice. The result is Winds of Devotion.
R. Carlos Nakai, from the American Southwest, is of Navajo-Ute heritage. He has received seven Grammy
nominations and was the first American Indian to earn two gold records; one for his Canyon Trilogy and
one for Earth Spirit. In 2005, he was inducted into the Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame.
Nawang Khechog fled Tibet in 1959 and has been in exile in India. He has been a Buddhist monk for eleven
years. In 2000, he was the first Tibetan to be nominated for a Grammy. He has toured widely, playing with Kitaro,
David Bowie, Trey Anastasio (Phish), and Nakai.
Both performers bring not only their flute skills to this unique album, but also their very different chant
styles. They are accompanied by a percussionist, a bass player, a cellist, and a synthesizer player. The album
also contains haunting background vocals.
I am quite fond of native flute music, both Eastern and Western, and I was not disappointed by this album.
The CD contains only four cuts, what the artists are calling movements. They are titled simply: "Sentient Beings,"
"Wisdom," "Compassion," and "Heart."
I enjoyed the intricacies of the music and was able to drift into peaceful realms with the melodies. I did,
however, feel that some of the chanting was intrusive, especially the Tibetan vocals. When the flutes and
percussion were allowed to develop their own richness, I was more at ease with the simplicity of those melodies.
I wasn't even distracted by the use of synthesizers, which I normally donít appreciate as much. I also felt that
I resonated more with the American Indian chanting, but perhaps that is because I have heard more of it as a
result of where I live.
I would readily recommend Winds of Devotion not only for use as a meditation CD but also as a
fine piece of collaborative improvisational music.