Celebrate life, music, joy and rhythm with "Pura Vida – This is Pure Life," the latest album from award-winning Native American musician Randy Granger.
"Pura Vida" is the national greeting of Costa Rica, meaning "Pure Life." But it is also an attitude to living for the day and moment. Granger embraces this mindset in these 12 remarkable new recordings, using a virtual United Nations of world instruments and voice to explore life, love, longing and the profound.
Ethereal Pan Instruments like the HANG, HALO and HAPI are featured with single, double and even triple Native American flutes the two latter requiring enormous amounts of lung power. In addition, Irish flute, the Futujara, Tibetan Bowl, Tsingtao, and Hopi rattle, shakers, Mariachi trumpet, Cajon and the Bodhrán offer a rich texture. It's all enhanced by guitar, bass and emotive vocals, both harmonized and A Cappella, bringing you an eclectic album with songs that keep your interest both sonically and emotionally.
The life-affirming title track, "Pura Vida," explores the need for hope in a world that often brings us down. Recorded after the devastating Haiti and Chilean earthquakes, "Pura Vida's" strong rhythms support a haunting melody line. The song is a spoken-word collaboration with poet Wayne Crawford, who is a guest on the song as well as co-writer of the lyrics.
"Rain in the Canyon," is a delicate trio of the HAPI, a metal tongue drum similar in sound to a Kalimba, deep Native American flute and voice sounding from a past ceremony.
"I Am the Mountain Within" is a song Randy had been doing for a while in his live shows and finally committed to posterity on one of his albums. The ethereal and haunting song features the Hang, Futujara, Irish and Native flutes with percussion and three-part harmony vocals, as well as bowls and finger cymbals. The song is always a favorite of listeners and audiences with its resonant chorus of "I am the mountain within the mountain."
The iconic Leonard Cohen classic, "Hallelujah," gets a reverential Granger treatment with Native flutes, guitar, vocals and harmonies. Another unique treatment is the addition of the HALO, a Pan instrument similar to the HANG. Its resonating steep pan sound adds a unique flavor and texture to this gentle and beautiful song.
"Wind in the Canyon" is a live version of a song Randy performs on the double-barrel Native American flute. This song was recorded live at the Casa Grande Ruins American Indian Music Festival in Arizona in 2010.
"Happy Dance" is a rhythmic burst of joy with the HANG, Irish Bodhrán, shakers and of course a higher pitched Native American flute played like an Irish penny whistle. The song lives up to its name, and listening to it will inspire you to dance – or at least tap your toes!
"Hier und Jetze (or Here and Now)" features again the HANG both as a melodic percussion instrument and as a low-grooving Udu, bass instrument. By playing the bottom side opening or the "Gu," Granger coaxes a deep trance-like bass sound. The melodic vocal line is reminiscent of a good pop song about longing for the one you can't have.
"Side Street Dance" plays with the idea of a spontaneous Brazilian street dance with a unique Triple-Barrel Native American flute, the Udu (an African clay pot drum), Agogo bells and a spirited use of shakers displaying Granger's deep percussion background.
"Mouth Jig" is a real standout on "Pura Vida." Taking the tradition of Celtic Mouth Music, or Puirt à beul, where a performer sings a lighthearted lyric, although these are sometimes replaced with meaningless vocables. Granger interprets this idea with a three-part vocal band the lower voice is the Bodhrán, the middle voice imitates the uilleann pipes or harmonica while the higher voice sings a jig ala the fiddle. Think Bobby McFerrin meets a Celtic Jig.
"Eagle over Hopi Mesa" features Granger's award-winning Native American flute music supported by Buffalo drum and Hopi rattle.
The heartfelt and beautiful "Heart Song" is another A Cappella number inspired by the short but inspired life of Mattie Stepanek, a poet, author and inspiration to millions through his HeartSong books. Born with a rare disorder now known as Dysautonomic Mitochondrial Myopathy, Mattie lost his other siblings to the same disease and knew his life would be brief yet chose to live each day fully and without fear – much like the theme of this album, Pura Vida.
The album wraps up with the nine-and-a-half minute masterpiece, "Island Bound," a dreamy song with ocean drum, Native Flutes and vocals. Gentle and relaxing, this song is a portrait of a pure life. Listen for the almost subliminal lyrics that embody the tone and the magic of island life. This song was commissioned by the New Mexico State University Dance Department and has been performed several times since.
Randy Granger is an award-winning singer/songwriter, Native American flutist, composer, educator, poet, writer with one of the Top 50 Independent Music Blogs on the web called "This Musician's Life." He tours and performs at festivals across the US and is a full-time recording artist and musician. He lives near the Rio Grande River in southwestern New Mexico's fertile Mesilla Valley, known as the Green Chile Capital of the world.
Learn more at www.RandyGranger.net