Eagle Cries is the latest step in Joanne Shenandoah's musical vision quest, one that began a decade and eleven albums ago. In the past, she's explored traditional Native chant, New Age hybrid, even children's music, all to rave critical reviews. This time, Joanne took to the traditional folk-rock path, making EAGLE CRIES as creative and profound as anything she's ever recorded. Special guests include Bruce Cockburn, who plays guitar and sings a duet with Joanne on "One Silver One Gold," as well as Native American stars Mary Youngblood and Bill Miller.
Joanne Shenandoah, a member of the Oneida Nation, was born in Iroquois territory, and was given the name Takalihwa kwha . Her original compositions combined with a striking voice enables her to embellish the ancient songs of the Iroquois using a blend of traditional and contemporary instrumentation. Her music has been featured on "Northern Exposure". She opened Woodstock '94 and has appeared with Jackson Browne, Rita Coolidge, and Willie Nelson and at the White House for Hillary Clinton and Tipper Gore.
Ted Silverhand, an elder in the Tuscarora clan, one of the six nations that make up the Iroquois, had a vision of Shenandoah's successful musical career when she was a baby and she's more than lived up to his prediction. Shenandoah has performed at both Clinton inaugurals, contributed music to the soundtrack of "Northern Exposure," "How the West Was Lost" and "Indian in the Cupboard," been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in music for her composition "Ganondagan," written books, and performed at Pow Wows, clubs and music festivals in France, Canada and The United Stares.
Shenandoah started playing piano as a child, and went on to guitar, clarinet, cello, flute and more. "My mother says I've always been able to pick up any instrument and start playing." In college Shenandoah discovered computers and considered a career in systems management, but music always called out to her. "I'd been doing commercials and some background singing, and finally decided to see how far I could go with my own music." Shenandoah signed with Canyon Records and put out her eponymous debut in 1989. Since then she's followed her heart and produced a body of work that combines all her interests - pop, symphonic, folk and her own Native roots.
"I've always loved the singing societies of the Iroquois women. They taught the young men their songs. The prohibition against women playing the drum doesn't hold true in Eastern Tribes; women are considered the back bone of the community - spiritual advisors, counselors, healers."