In talking to people, I know that most view my lifestyle as a little strange, some are even envious. What could be better than spending your days reading books, watching movies and listening to music? Well, the upshot is, its a lot of damn work, it sounds good, but the reality is that it takes long hours and pays something under a dollar an hour! Most CD’s get a once over on the player I use and a review is written, then I am off on the next mission. A few CD’s though make it to my super secret pile of things I love. Siyotanka fits that bill.

For the past couple of weeks Siyotanka has resided on my bedroom player, it is the perfect music to relax to. There is something unique about the flute in a Native American musical setting.

Michael Brant DeMaria has created a wonderful and satisfying work in Siyotanka. Using native wooden Flutes and Drums, with just a hint of more contemporary instruments and some Native American vocals he transports the listener to a different place. A very magical place.

My wife has not read the press release, nor does she know anything about the background to this work. Yet when I asked her to tell me what she thought about when listening to this CD. She said she imagined herself sitting on the edge of a lake that is surrounded by mountains, and listening to the birds in the trees singing. This is actually pretty close to what the press release says.

New Age is the label pegged on Michael, and yes I suppose it could be taken as such. I actually disagree, the New Age fans may love it, but this CD is not just for the Yoga and Yogurt community, it has a far wider appeal. Although in a different genre it reminds me of some of the British folk groups back in the 70’s. They took classic folk themes and instruments, and reinvented them in new and interesting compositions. I think that sums up Siyotanka quite well.

As I understand it Siyotanka was created as a soundtrack for a play that Michael co-wrote with Stephen C. Lott, who incidentally is the artist behind the cover of the CD.

I do not run my reviews on a ‘star’ system, to me music is a highly personal experience. My wife likes Country (whatever happened to the old ‘And Western?), my son likes something that I can only conceive as a horrible form of torture. I skip both genres, I get fed up with tales of tumbling tumbleweeds, pick up trucks, and cheating spouses (or would the plural be spice). Equally I hate the predilection and fascination that out young people have with derogatory racial terms. For me to rate either genre would be unfair. However, if I was to rate Siyotanka it would get 6 stars out of a possible 5!

I like this CD a lot, it is available through all of the usual suspects, Amazon, Cd Baby, and also through Michael’s web site.

Simon Barrett

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