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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
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By Michael Joseph
Label: Oasis CD Manufacturing
Released 10/8/2005
O-Glepi tracks
1. Ancestors Song  
2. Gourdhead  
3. Redrock
4. Traditional (flute solo)
5. Red On White (blood on snow)  
6. Mohave' Lullaby
7. Sequoia Boogie
8. Time With You
9. Anpo'Wie
10. Contemporary (flute solo)
11. Rosebud
12. Sparrow
Return of the Native to North America
There is an echoing sadness and an appealing beauty to Michael Joseph’s music. His album O-Glepi subtitled Songs for Native American Flute and Guitar is a testament that ancient themes can materialize into a modern world and still bring peace and comfort to troubled spirits.

From the northern hemisphere to the south, music has always been an essential part of Native American life and Joseph’s music is no small contribution to that tradition. He uses guitar, flute and natural percussion to celebrate the power that music has, to honor the Great Spirit, and to rejoice in everyday life. His style is folksy, yet respectful of his roots. The CD is organic; that is to say it wasn’t a studio perfect recording. Instead, I think it represents a true portrait of a man enjoying and creating music for the love of the experience. There might be a few unscheduled time changes and a few drum beats a little different from the others, but that is what made the whole album earthier and more authentic.

A tune ten years in the making, Ancestor Song opens the album with a soft, trilling flute lead and a warm rhythm guitar. Influenced by his Pan American roots and the songs of his grandfathers, Michael offers a tranquil homage to the past.

The simply titled Traditional is a solo flute piece played on a hand-crafted 5-hole flute. It is a soft, crooning melody that reminds us of echoing mountains, clear rushing streams and the vastness of the open plains. It is a very soothing piece that represents Joseph’s best effort.

Red on White is just about my favorite on O-Glepi. It sounds as if the wind has become real and it plays a number of echoing flutes to commemorate the tragedies of the Lakota. Like many cultures that inhabit the Americas, they were punished for their beliefs and a tenacious hold on their way of life. In particular the Ghost Dance, a dance that promised a return to plentiful food and much cherished freedom turned out to be a catalyst that incurred the wrath of the white man.

Anpo’wie is a very traditional sounding tune that honors the power of the stars. It seems that on every continent countless numbers of wayfarers used the light of the stars for direction and as a strong basis for their beliefs. The Lakota believe that what occurs in the stars is mirrored on earth.

Contemporary is another flute solo that is melancholy, yet reflects the nature of man today. Hopeful describes it best and reverent to the beliefs that some day it will be as it was. Sparrow brings out the down-to-earth composer and guitarist in Michael as he does a bit of magic and turns a tiny bird into a soaring eagle. It is the sound of a light hearted spirit that loves freedom.

O-Glepi is Lakota for shadow. It is a perfect title for music that profiles the harsh, yet honorable life that the Plains peoples embraced. Even today there is no stronger example of tradition that that of the Native American people. Michael Joseph has put history to music and he has done it well.
Rating: Good   Good
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 12/15/2005
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