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One With The Land

Inspired by Chief Seattle’s eloquent plea

One with the land… one with the sky
The glistening rivers and sparkling streams
A misty forest pierced by moonbeams
Oh the rocks and the trees
The very air that we breathe
Hold the blood of our father’s bones
Sacred spirits we cannot own.

One with the wind… one with the rain
The burning sun or a cooling shade
A dusty plain or a leafy glade
Every meadow and flower
Each hold the spirit and power
To the harmony all around
Forever let it be hallowed ground.

As we walk upon the earth
Feel the measure of its worth
For the blood of our ancestors dwell
Not in heaven or in hell
But in the forest leaves or a summer breeze
Their voices can be heard in a rock or a bird
Nature calls to us... to carry on we must
Stay one with the land.

(Interlude)

Watch the eagle soar, hear the ocean roar
There’s beauty everywhere for the whole world to share
Nature calls to us to carry on we must
Live as family for now and always be…

One with the land… one with the sky
The trickling waters of countless creeks
Our rocky ridges and mountain peaks
Every meadow and flower
Each hold the spirit and power
To keep our world in harmony
Forever sacred it must be…

Comments:

"One With The Land" is a song loosely based on the Native American belief that we are all one with nature. In 2017, I first got around to recording it* although it was performed live with Vaneese Thomas back on November 12th, 2006 at the First United Methodist Church in Stamford, CT - Photos and Performance details.

*At the end of 2020, I revisited the tune and cleaned up the recording. I changed the main body of the tune to emphasize the acoustic guitar and frame drums and played the flute track on my Gm Native American flute - it sounds a helluva lot better now!

The song was inspired by a speech that Native American Chief Seattle gave before the U.S. Congress in 1854 as the white man forged westward devouring land and "colonizing" the frontier. His speech eloquently summarized the Native American spiritual belief that property can not be bought and sold: it's God's land and therefore it is everybody's land. In essence: "This Earth is Precious... How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us! ".

It also was inspired by the beauty of the Pequonnock River Valley, an area where I mountain bike quite frequently.

D About the Music:

Music, Lyrics, Vocals: Rich Coffey

This was a bit of an epic recording: complex harmony, an unusually-prominent, somewhat-complicated frame drum part and the merging of two different audio recordings [the (1) rubatio intro and (2) the main body] took a lot of time and effort...

Frame Drums

An integral part of this arrangement is obviously the drums. I used a frame drum rather than the usual drum kit to give the song a more “Native American” vibe.

The frame drum has a wonderful rich sound and the groove was sliced and diced from patterns found online to match the tempo of the song.

Flutes
Wooden Flute

There are actually two real Native American wooden flutes used on the song. The intro is played on a primitive "souvenir" flute (the black one) while the main body of the tune was played on my red cedar Gm Native American flute. I added a touch of echo typically heard on many Native American wooden flute recordings. This echo effect is often heard in the Andes bands seen performing on the streets and in the subways of New York City - link

Chords/Harmony
Much of the harmony of the song is “modern” - shifting triads over non-triadic bass notes [C/Bb, D/C, D/G etc.] and/or stacked fifths [G5/A5, Eb5/G5]. It all meshes together quite nicely! :-)

More Info on Native America

As a supplement to this song, I have compiled a small section on Native American music and spirituality in the links section. Learn more about frame drumming, Native American spirituality, etc: Native American Spirituality and Music.