New Tunes evoking ancient Celts and Native spirits: Coyote Oldman and Gerry O’Beirne

Coyote Oldman returns and Gerry O’Beirne creates a career defining album with new CDS.
Coyote Oldman is the Native flute and electronic duo that single-handedly carved out the Native American space music genre in the 1980s and 90s. Michael Graham Allen, a scholar and maker of Native American flutes, plays most of the music on an Anasazi flute recreation similar to that heard on Scott August’s Lost Canyons. Allen blows elongated melodies that are electronically stretched into infinity by Barry Stramp in a seamless merging of acoustic flute and electronic processing. If you put Under an Ancient Sky on in the background, it vaporizes, but closer listening reveals a detailed soundworld and hidden melodies that are purely immersive.

At the opposite end of the drone scale is an album so full of melodic warmth that it can barely be contained.

Gerry O’Beirne is an Irish guitarist whose debut album was the evocative Half Moon Bay. It’s taken him a while, but with The Bog Bodies and other Stories: Music for Guitar, he’s put out a career defining album. “Music for Guitar” doesn’t quite capture what O’Beirne does on this album. He multi-tracks all kinds of guitars, ukelele, banjo and more in melodically compelling, cinematically shifting compositions that have an epic dimension. It recalls Mark O’Connor’s False Dawn from the 1980s which took the concept of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells and applied it to acoustic instruments. The title comes from almost perfectly preserved bodies from up to 5500 years ago, discovered in bogs in Northern Europe and the British Isles. Wikipedia has a nice listing for them.
A bit macabre as an image, it doesn’t convey the exuberant and lyrical sound Gerry O’Beirne conjures on this album. The Bog Bodies and other Stories is one of the most perfect acoustic albums I’ve heard in a while.
John Diliberto

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