Piano-Heaven Award Winner:

Lakota Piano II

Brulé

Buffalo Moon Music

 2009

www.brulerecords.com

 

 

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One of my favourite CDs is the original Lakota Piano album from 1997, so I was delighted to discover that a long overdue sequel had been made recently. Lakota Piano made Piano Heaven a number of years ago, and the review (which also details the composer's incredible background) can be read here.

When I listened to the first track, ‘Voices in the Wind’ I had to check the title of the album again, as there was not a piano note in sight! Instead, there is quite a groovy beat, and a pleasant droning and subsequent melody which is very pleasing to the ear. As with much of the album, synthesisers have been used extensively, and although the track is perhaps out of place with the content of this web-site, I really do like it!

‘Last of the Great Chiefs’ does indeed see the appearance of the piano, certainly not in its purest form, but the end product is a beautiful, reflective track.

A favourite piece on the album is the third track, ‘Spirit of Ft. George’. I am guessing this stands for Fort George, and with its gentle background beat, and lovely piano melody, this is Brulé at his best. It's quite a soporific piece, and I absolutely adore it. The ending is simply exquisite.

Piano is at the forefront of ‘Dreamshield’, a gentle, almost minimalist composition. The piano has a more natural sound in this piece. It is another melodic track, and extremely relaxing and soothing.

‘Red Path’ is much more upbeat, with piano and the return of the funky beat! This is a happy composition, and contrasts with both of the next two tracks. ‘Heavy Hunt’ has a sense of foreboding, and I love the sound of the drums, which are very atmospheric.

This leads onto track seven, ‘Broken Trails’, which is another favourite despite not featuring the piano at all. This is an incredibly mournful and yet achingly beautiful short composition, the background of which I am guessing is something to do with the Western World's interference in traditional tribal land.

I enjoyed reading about the family history of Brulé, and the next track sees him reminiscing about the times his Great Grandmother (Mary Little Elk) would sometimes play the upright piano which sat out in the prairie grass near home on a warm Summer's day. As I listen to this track, I hear the piano filling the air and its sound resonating across the prairie.  
 

Onto track nine, entitled ‘Bravehearts’; another favourite. This is a slow-tempo piano piece, lightly orchestrated which is perfect for drifting away from one's troubles. It's a simple melody, but one that is played with real feeling and compassion.

 

‘Beyond Buffalo Moon’ is a remixed outing of a track originally from the first Lakota Piano album. It has been made more upbeat, and is an interesting variation on the original composition.

 

My favourite track of the CD. and undoubtedly one of my most loved tracks of all time, is track eleven, ‘Lakota Oyate’. Featuring piano and orchestration in equal measure, I cannot begin to describe how gorgeous the resulting composition is to the human ear. It is a mournful yet beautiful song, and one that seemed to capture how I felt when I first heard this CD- I first listened to it the day after my dad's sad passing, and I felt that the piece with its distant bells was just so appropriate for the occasion. It was almost as if the piece had been written just for me. The entire track is exquisite, but the ending particularly so. It has a mesmerising quality to it. They say music is a great healer, and this piece has certainly helped me.    

The final piece, ‘Mary Little Elk’ is obviously a tribute to his Great Grandmother, and is an optimistic composition, probably chronicling her active and successful life.

I think this CD was made in 2009 as stated on the jewel case, but on the back of the insert it says 2005.

I am a great fan of the piano music and gentle orchestrations of Brulé, and hope that it is not twelve years before Lakota Piano III sees the light of day! Another excellent recording from this fascinating and intriguing musician.     

S.C.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lakota Piano II

Brulé

 

 

Brulé