The one thing the Internet has allowed music lovers to do is explore the vast amount of independent and undiscovered musicians and artists out there in the world. One is no longer limited to what is on the radio, the television or the local scene and record shops. You can learn about the music of just about any country in the world. From traditional music to interpretations of pop music with a cultural twist.
Riding in a car with an eight year old who will listen to the same song as many times in a row as you let her, the phrase expand your horizons comes up quite a bit. If we play her other music, she’s quick to ask to get back to her songs. I am guilty of playing the some playlist every day, but I always make time for finding new music, pulling out an old playlist or even those old-fashioned vinyl records. Even though I love my daily playlist, I have a vast music collection and I always have to dip into it every now and again.
I have been expanding my horizons in a bunch of different directions over the last couple years. Looking for digital versions of songs that I heard on the radio and watched on MTV as I was growing up, looking for vinyl albums that have the songs I can’t find digitally and finding new music where I haven’t looked before. I have been listening to deep album cuts of my favorite artists and listening to more of other artists I like. I use the similar artists feature on Rhapsody to find more music similar to what I like. I almost always find stuff I hadn’t heard before, some old and some new, and much of the time I wondered I how missed the stuff that was around when I was growing up.
Sometimes mainstream artists lead you to the not-so-mainstream stuff. That’s the case with this week’s CreativelyMusical.com Artist of the Week, Arvel Bird. I would have probably never discovered his music if I hadn’t spent so much time expanding my horizons. My path to him is Rickey Medlocke. When I first started learning more about Rickey, I found out that he was inducted in to the Native American Music Awards Hall of Fame at the 10th Annual Native American Music Awards. That’s where the path started…the NAMALIVE.com web site. I started listening to pow wow recordings and various traditional artists of the Native American tribes.
That led to learning more about the cultures and eventually I attended my first pow wow here in Middle Tennessee. It was my second pow wow in October of 2012 that I first heard of Arvel Bird. He mixes Native American music with Celtic music for a unique blend of beautiful harmonies. He plays the violin or fiddle, which was a big draw for me. Although I hadn’t played much in years, I did play the violin for 10 years of my life in school. From the second grade to the twelfth grade, I played the violin. I played mostly classical music, but a few popular tunes and standards along the way. I even found sheet music of some of my favorite songs and learned to play them.
Like I said, I haven’t really played in years. Arvel’s mix of Celtic and Native American music is really appealing to me. My heritage is a large part Irish, and I do like some traditional Irish music. Add in the violin and it’s a winner to me.
At the pow wow he went through a variety of selections from his catalog, but the one song I remember the most had a verse in it about a hawk and it not letting the other smaller birds around it bother it or distract it from it’s goal. I have witnessed hawks do just that and it is amazing every time. Listening and watching Arvel perform was spiritual for me. Although I can’t claim any Native American heritage that I know of, the two pow wows I have attended have felt that way – spiritual experiences that are enlightening.
Music is supposed to touch your soul, it does touch your soul. Native American music, Arvel Bird’s music in particular, does just that in a spiritual way. I will share just a few selections of his catalog, but I strongly recommend that you give his full catalog a listen. It has a little bit of everything, a fusion of styles and music for your spirit.
Arvel Byrd Live!: (Rhapsody Link) http://www.rhapsody.com/artist/arvel-bird/album/arvel-bird-live
You can find his music on Rhapsody, Amazon and his web site ArvelBird.com.
You can also find Arvel Bird on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace
Here are some of the photos that I took of him at the Tennessee State Pow Wow in October, 2012.
After listening to Arvel Bird for the first time, I pulled out my phone and looked him up on Facebook. I went home and added him to my Rhapsody and Amazon libraries, too. The Animal Totems CDs are my favorites, but I recommend listening to his entire catalog.