February 4, 2002
For immediate release:
The Cherokee Nation, based in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, has released a landmark musical album, entitled: Voices of The Creator's Children, by the Cherokee National Children's Choir featuring Rita Coolidge. The project was funded by the Cherokee Nation to promote Cherokee language and culture.
Voices of The Creator's Children was the inspiration of Chadwick "Corntassel" Smith, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, who has been a passionate supporter of the children's choir. "They sound like little Cherokee angels," he states. Once the project was underway, it received a major boost when Chief Smith enlisted the participation of two-time Grammy award-winning, international singing star, Rita Coolidge, who is of Cherokee descent.
Coolidge has an extensive resume in the music business, and has performed and collaborated with a "who's who" of superstars from almost every genre of popular music, including Eric Clapton, the late Beatle, George Harrison, and ex-husband, Kris Kristofferson. Coolidge first rose to solo prominence in the 1970's, recording several chart topping songs, including "Higher and Higher," "The Way You Do the Things You Do," and "We're All Alone." Since that time, she has performed music for many major motion pictures, and has also been awarded a Native American Lifetime Achievement Award by the Native American Music Awards (Nammy's). Currently, Coolidge is the driving force behind her own award-winning group, Walela, who also records music that honors Native American themes.
The Cherokee National Children's Choir is made up of children between the fifth and eighth grades from all over the Cherokee Nation. Program Director, Jamie Geneva, says that "the Cherokee National Choir reflects the richness of Cherokee pride through music performed in the native language. They are a beautiful group of children who represent our nation through their voices."
Under the instruction of Choir Director, Jan Ballou, the group has grown in popularity by leaps and bounds, with regular performances throughout the region since the group was formed in early 2000. While promoting the strength of the Cherokee Nation, the choir is "encouraging to other young kids to learn the language and culture, by our honoring of the children in the choir. Kids always like rewards," states Cherokee Nation Communications Director, Mike Miller.
Voices of The Creator's Children was recorded during the summer of 2001. The 15 member children's choir (along with guests, Kenwood Emmanuel Baptist Church Choir and the Cherokee Choir, led by J.B. Dreadfulwater) was recorded on location at the historic Park Hill Presbyterian Church, in Park Hill, Oklahoma, and at the Cherokee Nation's council chambers in the tribal complex, with overdubs of Coolidge and other featured vocalists and musicians recorded at Cimarron Sound Lab studio, located in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
The project was overseen by co-producer and engineer, Jeffrey Gray Parker (who also co-owns the recording studio with his wife, Margarett), and assistant engineer, Don Morris. The CD combines traditional Cherokee gospel music, and original compositions, sung both in Cherokee and English. Coolidge is spotlighted on four of the songs on the album, including the featured radio track, "On the Road Where They Cried," a song about the Trail of Tears that was created especially for the project, and was co-written by Geneva, Ballou and Parker.
Other songs feature solo vocal performances by various members of the choir, and there is a spoken word piece delivered by Cherokee storyteller and musician, Choogie Kingfisher, which is used as an introduction to "Orphan Child." The 13-song compact disc concludes with a bonus track, which is a stirring rendition of "Amazing Grace," sang acappella in Cherokee, by Coolidge.
The Cherokee Nation has enlisted the services of TERO contractor, Cimarron Sound Lab, LLC (who is collaborating with a sub-contractor, The Clif Doyal Agency of Nashville, TN) to create a national and international campaign, which is now underway, to expose Voices of The Creator's Children to radio, press, television, Internet, and other outlets.