by Peter Kater
NATIVE AMERICA: Grammy-winning pianist/composer Peter Kater honors and celebrates Native American peoples and culture.
The 17 tracks that comprise pianist/composer Peter Kater’s new release—simply titled Native America—offer a loving tribute of reverence to the Native American community, its culture and its music. Over the course of a career in which he has routinely topped New Age charts, garnering two Grammy Awards and 14 Grammy Nominations, Kater has proven to be an inspired cross-cultural collaborator, noted for his work with Sikh devotional singer Snatam Kaur, cellist Tina Guo and Tibetan flautist Nawang Khechog, among others. The indigenous music of the Americas has often had pride of place in Kater’s oeuvre, as witnessed by his fruitful collaborations over the years with renowned virtuosi of the Native American flute like R. Carlos Nakai, Joseph Firecrow, Bill Miller, Coyote Oldman, Kevin Locke and Robert Mirabal.
The finest of these creative encounters with Native musical culture are brought together for the first time on Native America, making it a very special work in the Kater catalog. With the exception of Nakai’s “Shaman’s Call,” Kater composed all of the selections, orchestrating them variously with synthesizers, the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra and Choir, and featured soloists such as oboist Paul McCandless, violinist Arvel Bird, guitarists Michael Hamilton and Dominic Miller and vocalists Bill Miller, Joseph Firecrow, Katie Price and pop vocal hitmaker Rita Coolidge, who is of mixed Cherokee and Scottish descent.
The last-named singers evoke the incantatory, deeply spiritual quality of Native American chanting and recitation. There is much magic, also, in the masterful musical settings that Kater has crafted for the Native American flute, a deceptively simple instrument that excels at emulating the plaintive tones of the human voice and the sounds of nature—lachrymose bird calls and the rustle of restless wind. The symphonic and electronic landscapes that Kater creates around these sounds are majestic and dreamlike, redolent of verdant canyons, sky and earth.
Piano and flute duets showcase the varied styles and tonalities of the album’s flute soloists: Nakai, Firecrow, Miller, Locke, Mirabal and Coyote Oldham.
Kater’s pianistic accompaniment of their gorgeous melodies is sensitive and deeply attuned, cradling them in sparkling arpeggios that glisten like stars in a vast firmament, or bearing them aloft on thunderous bass notes. Piano and flute often share poignant melodic passages, echoing and answering one another like two old friends in conversation.
Given that the end-blown wooden flute is as central to the Americas’ indigenous musical cultures as the piano is to Western music, it is a delight to hear these two instruments—so different in size and tonality—blend so naturally and beautifully in arrangements that combine myriad Native and Western musical elements. With its reverent embrace of America’s indigenous music, people and culture, Native America is a work that speaks eloquently to the universal truth and longing of the human heart.
2x Grammy Winning/Multi-Platinum selling Pianist/Composer Peter Kater has been a leading innovator of contemporary instrumental music for over 3 decades. He’s received many awards and accolades for his rich and diverse music including 14 Grammy Award nominations and two Grammy wins. He’s released over 70 critically acclaimed recordings and has scored the music for over 100 television and film productions including 11 On & Off-Broadway dramatic plays. From solo piano and contemporary jazz ensembles to full orchestral works, his cross-genre music is heard all over the world from the Olympics to Carnegie Hall. He is known for his many groundbreaking collaborations with musicians such as Native American flutist R. Carlos Nakai; Sting guitarist Dominic Miller and Sacred Chantress Snatam Kaur. And as an avid environmentalist and humanitarian Peter is a proud recipient of the Environment Leadership Award from the United Nations.
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A True Heart from Peter Kater's newest release Native America.