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World Music CD Reviews North American

Robert Mirabal

By Paula E. Kirman

In The Blood
Star Road Records

A Pueblo recording artist from New Mexico known not only for building and playing flutes but also for the depth and range of his songwriting, Robert Mirabal is one of Native America's biggest recording artists. In The Blood features songs—several of which are new versions of previously released Mirabal work, such as “Medicine Man” and “The Dance”—that juxtapose Native American life with American culture and experience. Mirabal’s vocal style is smooth and warm, while his lyrics are vivid and profound, at times reminiscent of some of Robbie Robertson’s early solo work. He sings in both English and his mother tongue of Tiwa, and stylistically his music ranges from ballads to full-on rock, with songs in between that draw heavily from his traditional Pueblo roots. Mirabal’s versatility and talent have earned him numerous awards, including two Native American Artist of the Year awards, three Songwriter of the Year awards, and a Grammy in 2006 for Best Native American Album of the Year (for Sacred Ground). Produced by Andy Byrd and featuring veteran session guitarist Larry Mitchell, In The Blood promises to garner similar accolades.