Two-time Grammy winner Mary Youngblood succeeds again

Vincent Schilling, Today correspondent
1/31/09

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Two-Time Grammy-award winning Mary Youngblood, in conjunction with Silver Wave Records, has released “Sacred Place, A Mary Youngblood Collection.”

“Sacred Place” is a collection of pieces from Youngblood’s previous five albums, which include “The Offering,” “Heart of the World,” “Beneath the Raven Moon,” “Feed the Fire” and “Dance with the Wind.”

To those unfamiliar with Mary Youngblood, “Sacred Place” is an introduction to a body of work released by the artist since 1999. To those that have followed Youngblood’s musical career, “Sacred Place” will be an addition to the music collection.

Since signing with Silver Wave Records in 1998, Youngblood has established herself as an icon of the American Indian flute. The list of awards since her first album, “The Offering,” is staggering.

She has received three Grammy nominations and two Grammy awards. She also has received two “Indie” awards, a New Age Voice award, six Native American Music awards and an Emmy nomination for her work as a composer on the documentary, “The Spirit of Sacajawea.” She has also worked with such notable musicians as Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull, and American Indian artists Bill Miller, and Joanne Shenandoah.

“Sacred Place” is an impressive body of work by Youngblood that includes such classic tracks as “Beneath the Raven Moon,” from the same entitled album, “Tears for Kientepoos,” from “The Offering” and “Misty Rain,” from “Dance with the Wind.”

When asked about her experiences with the American Indian flute, Youngblood admits she stumbled upon the instrument literally by chance.

As a baby, a white family adopted Youngblood. The family moved often to follow her father’s teaching career. In fourth grade, she arrived mid-year to an elementary school and signed up for the school band. The only remaining instrument was the flute.

Youngblood studied the contemporary flute for most of her young life. It was not until she was an adult that a new-age storeowner offered her an American Indian flute to play. She picked up the flute, played a few bars, and received gracious applause from the people in the store.

Youngblood began to play for local events and eventually met Shenandoah on a pow wow cruise. She later worked with Shenandoah on an album project and eventually signed with Silver Wave Records.

When speaking with Indian Country Today, Youngblood said, “The fact that I am playing the flute is really serendipitous. It was destiny.”

Youngblood admits she feels a certain connection when playing the flute. “The flute is the extension of the voice. If you can make your flute sound like a voice, then your voice can be the flute. To me the flute and the voice sound very similar.”

Though Youngblood is the artist, she credits James Marienthal with the selection of songs used to create “Sacred Place.” “James put together an album that flows nicely; it is important how you put the songs together. There were a lot to pick from.”

Youngblood also commented on the integral meaning of the album’s title, “Sacred Place.” “Everyone should have a sacred place that is safe, uplifting, secure and spiritual. There are sacred places I go to today. My backyard is one of them. The Redwoods in Mendocino, California is another sacred place to me.”

Youngblood also spoke of a sacred place she would frequent during her junior high and high school years. “There was a tree I could retreat to when I was younger. My dog would sit in the lowest crevice of the tree while I would climb much higher and draw. It was a sacred place, an inspiration. It was a young tree then, but has since become a council oak, where the branches touch the ground. This is a significant correlation to me.”

For more information or to order “Sacred Place: A Mary Youngblood Collection,” call 1-800-SIL-WAVE or go to www.silverwave.com. For more information on Youngblood, go to www.maryyoungblood.com.

You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page