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Mysteriously bad

American Indian Story
American Indian Story
By Jana

Standing Stone Records: 2007

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This review first appeared in Turbula in April 2007.

Jana Mashonee's music is native American the way Enya's music is Celtic. Nominated for a Grammy in the Best Native American Music Album category, "American Indian Story" is far more new age than it is anything ever heard before the Europeans showed up.

Okay, that last part isn't exactly a fair comparison; there is no reason Indian music should be frozen in time. Surely before the Euros made their entrance to the Western Hemisphere, the music was dynamic, changing, growing. Besides, non-Indians (including your loyal reviewer) have no business judging whether music is authentically American Indian or not.

It's just that Jana's new album sounds so much like Enya or Stevie Nicks' solo outings that it's near-on impossible to view it as anything other than new age pop. New age pop without any evident hit songs, for that matter. Surely no "Orinoco Flow" or "Gypsy." Just high soaring vocals backed by strings and synths, with vaguely American Indian lyrics. Mostly, it's boring. At times, as on "The First Celebration," the results are almost laughably earnest.

Given Jana's own track record of hitting the charts in her previous R&B and dance singles, and the power and beauty of her voice, this over-produced, poorly written new agey album is an utter mystery.