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World Music CD Reviews North American

Lisa Gerrard and Jeff Rona

By Stacy Meyn
Published October 28, 2005

A Thousand Roads
Wide Blue Sky RMADV-01219-2

Director Chris Eyre (Smoke Signals) helms Smithsonian-funded short A Thousand Roads, which devotes 43 intense minutes to four of today’s Native Americans each having a tough day. He loved the Whale Rider soundtrack, so he got on the horn to Dead Can Dance founder/world music supporter Lisa Gerrard and film/TV composer Jeff Rona (Powwaqatsi, Traffic, Black Hawk Down) to request their services. She provides her signature otherworldly vocals amid Rona's ethereal electronics, with the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Native American vocal trio Ulali and flutists R. Carlos Nakai and Douglas Spotted Eagle. Native American composer Joy Harjo delivers scripted music, joined by guitarist Heitor Pereira and John Trudell, musician/poet and longtime supporter of Native American causes. Despite flaps over the selection of Gerrard (an Australian) and Rona allegedly deeming Ulali “too bluesy” (!) and altering their sound in the final mix, A Thousand Roads does its job for the documentary plus stands alone as a gorgeous, provocative listen.