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World Music CD Reviews North American


By Jill Ettinger
Published September 27, 2005

A Tradition Continues…Harmonized Peyote Songs

Throughout Mexico and the Southwest U.S., peyote cactus ceremonies have been practiced by native peoples for centuries. This powerful medicine spread north to the Lakota and others over time, imparting its sacred wisdom and bringing a common ceremony to the intertribal consciousness of Native America. Regarded as a healing psycho-spiritual medicine, peyote is said to bring deep shamanic journeys, personal visions and even Father Peyote himself to participants. Revealed to the mainstream by artists like Jim Morrison and novelist Carlos Castaneda, the peyote ceremonial structure includes a water drum, gourd and prayer songs sung in sets of four: traditionally at the beginning, midnight, first light and close of the journey. Gerald Primeaux Sr. brings a collection of original peyote songs together here with beautiful simplicity and traditional resonance. The constant water drum rhythm and characteristic bass-note vocals “he-ne-ne-yo-we” as well as English prayers, achieve a trance-like effect. The subtle power in these quiet, meditative songs is ceremony alone; a deep teaching of this land long ago.