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 R. Carlos Nakai, Navajo-Ute native american flute musician

R. Carlos Nakai

Tribe: Navajo - Ute
Genre:Flute, New Age, Symphony

R. Carlos Nakai bio, discography, reviews and quotes. Shop for Carlos Nakai native american music CDs.

R. Carlos Nakai, native american music, flute playerOf Navajo-Ute heritage, R. Carlos Nakai, (often referred to as just Carlos Nakai), is the world's premier performer of the Native American flute. Originally trained in classical trumpet and music theory, Nakai was given a traditional cedar wood flute as a gift and challenged to see what he could do with it.

Since 1983, he has released over 35 albums. In addition to his solo appearances throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan, Nakai has worked with guitarist William Eaton, flutist Paul Horn, composers James DeMars and Phillip Glass and various symphony orchestras.

While well-grounded in the traditional uses of the flute, Nakai has explored new musical settings including new age, world-beat jazz and classical. His cross-cultural collaborations have included an album with the Wind Travelin' Band, a Japanese folk ensemble and Tibetan flutist and singer Nawang Khechog on several productions including “In A Distant Place.”

Nakai has earned two gold records for “Canyon Trilogy” and “Earth Spirit” and has received eight Grammy® nominations. Nakai’s career has been shaped by a desire to communicate a sense of Native American culture and society that transcends the common stereotypes presented in mass media.

R. Carlos Nakai Discography and Awards:

  • 1983 - Changes released
  • 1986 - Spirit Horses DeMars work Premiere
  • 1987 - The Renaissance of the Native American Flute workshop
  • 1992 - Indie Award for Migration with Peter D. Kater
  • 1992 - Arizona Governor's Arts Award
  • 1994 - Northern Arizona University Honorary Doctorate
  • 1994 - Two World Concerto DeMars work Premiere
  • 1994 - First Americans in the Arts Award
  • 1994 - Grammy Finalist for Ancestral Voices
  • 1994 - NAMA Award
  • 1994 - RIAA Certified Gold Record for Canyon Trilogy
  • 1999 - Indie Award for Mythic Dreamer
  • 2000 - Grammy Finalist for Inside Monument Valley
  • 2001 - RIAA Certified Gold Record for Earth Spirit
  • 2002 - Grammy Finalist for Fourth World
  • 2003 - Grammy Finalist for Sanctuary
  • 2004 - NewAge Reporter Lifestyle Music Award, Best Native American Album for In Beauty We Return
  • 2005 - Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame Induction.

Critical reviews of R. Carlos Nakai's work:

“The haunting sound of the Native American flute is gaining more widespread appeal in recent years, and R. Carlos Nakai is the reason for it.”
~Billboard, 1995

“Nakai is creating viable new music, a body of work that could be considered as modern as classical music.”
~Focus Magazine, 1994

“Nakai is a very special American artist. That he remains largely unknown is a reflection of the music industry’s inability to recognize and support artists outside of narrow commercial boundaries.”
~Aaron Howard, Public News, 1994

“Single-handedly, it seems R. Carlos Nakai has raised the music world’s consciousness in terms of traditional indigenous music of Native North Americans with his recordings of the Native American cedar flute.”
~Dirty Linen, 1993

“Nakai’s fluid, piercing melodies reflect an understanding that one’s voice is the most immediate portal to the soul.”
~Fred Mills, Option, 1992

“...together they sculpt an impressionistic world chamber music, bathing in reverberating atmospheres... Like a Georgia O’Keefe painting, this a fragile and introspective flower in the desert.”
~Critic’s Choice Review of Feather, Stone & Light, Billboard, 1995

“There was something very special about this music. When I heard R. Carlos’ music, it was very provocative and evoked ancient ‘blood memories’. It was risk to use this music, but it moved me.”
~Martha Graham, age 94, explaining why she changed her 178th ballet, Night Chant to feature Nakai’s music.

“His flute, for all it’s limited range of notes, creates a vast panorama of moods, from plaintive laments to soaring joy.”
~Charles de Lint, Dirty Linen, 1994

“Whenever I listen to it, I can just close my eyes and find myself in Arizona, gazing at the blue sky and red rocks as the sun slowly sets. Try listening to it yourself and see where it takes you. I can promise, it will be a deeply restful, soothing place.”
~Review of Changes, Jamie Michaels, 1985

“His playing reflects the duality of honoring traditions and developing new musical expressions.”
~Las Vegas Sun, 1995

“Deep inside, you know this music, because you can feel it echo in your bones.”
~Greg Fasolino, Reflex Magazine, 1990

“Mesmerizing suite.... It’s joyous, celebratory music, immaculately rendered by Nakai, the musicians and composer/conductor James DeMars.”
~Spirit Horses review - Fred Mills, Option, 1992

“A southwestern supergroup... ...the best musical collaborations occur when players of different backgrounds and diverse influences meet.... (the Nakai Quartet) understands the creative nature of this tension and exploits it fully, with wonderful collaborative results.”
~Fred Mills, Goldmine, 1997

“Kokopelli’s Cafe is a benchmark, placing the cedar flute firmly within the context of mainstream contemporary jazz.”
~Andrew Means, Rhythm Music Magazine, 1996

“Intrigue, mystery, shadow, and substance spice the servings at Kokopelli’s Cafe. The entrees... give the soul the sustenance it needs to sit up and pay attention. ...the main ingredient found in all these musical dishes is delight.”
~NAPRA Review, 1996

R. Carlos Nakai on his music:

“I have an intense interest in understanding how it relates to other instruments, in how far I can go.”
~R. Carlos Nakai about the Native American flute in The Star Phoenix, 1995.

“I consider myself a traditional flutist.... Tradition is what people do now, rather than looking back at historic or romantic times. Our compositions deal with how we are as people today.”
~R. Carlos Nakai, Indian Country Today, 1995.

“Our primary importance as musicians is trying to tell people that history can’t be changed, but the future can be. Personally, I feel I should try to contribute something that would encourage people to change, to become more positive about our situation, to reorganize and reorient ourselves together instead of continuing to build walls.”
~R. Carlos Nakai

Amazing Grace by R. Carlos Nakai

This article was published on Friday 20 June, 2008.
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