by Mark Maxwell Abushady, NYC
THE NATIVE AMERICAN FLUTE
Micki Free makes an offering of three discs in this album. The first two discs consists of 6 tracks each, presenting lovely arrangements of very well-executed Native American flute, backed with various dreamy sounds – synthesized, from acoustic instruments, and from nature. Each cut begins with a thoughtful, and in some cases, meditative, spoken word introduction. Titles include WhiteCandle Light, The Healing Bath, Positive Energy, Essential Oils, and Sacred Sage. An exception is a beautiful arrangement of Neil Young’s Down by the River.
The third disc treats us to a music video of Lavender Kiss, which includes a visual nod to Prince and Purple Rain. Micki Free is responsible for all lead vocals, Native American flutes, guitars, Comanche gourd rattle, Cherokee deer toes, bells, chimes and shakers. He is joined by Brother Paul Brown on Hammond B3 organ and Fender Rhodes suitcase piano, April Brown on Native American Flute (for the duet on Sacred Sage) and background vocals, and Trish Bowden (background vocals). This one is just what the doctor ordered (or should have!). An excellent selection.
SISTER JAGUAR’S JOURNEY
Sister Jaguar’s Journey is a short, engaging film about the life story of Sister Bisignano, a Dominican nun who, though driven to positively contribute to the world, did so with a heavy heart, internalized bitterness and an anger she seemed unable to shake.
The film is fairly fast paced, touching quickly upon Sister Bisignano’s difficult, challenging home life and time as a novitiate. As she moved into the world to do her ministering/ teaching, starting a number of laudable schools for the underprivileged, it appeared on the surface that all was successful. Unfortunately, her work was informed with unresolved anger and resentment. In the quest to free herself of the negativities of her past, she accepts an invitation from Executive Communications Coach and friend Sandra Morse to travel to Ecuador’s Amazon River basin and rainforest to spend time in nature with the Achuar people.
As the area’s native inhabitants, the Achuar culture is centered on Mother Earth (Pachamama), and making use of plants in nature-based rituals for healing and enlightenment. One of these is the famous Ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic tea made from the bark of these huge tropical vines. Sister’s experiences in the rainforest include the ceremonial use of ayahuasca, the effects of which she openly shares, and describes as a “chemical, biological and spiritual” transformation that truly turned her life around.
There is a book, by the same name, upon which this film is based. After viewing the film, I hope to read the book as well, as the film left me wanting more. That’s a good thing. Her story is full of hope and is wonderfully honest in the telling.