Dinah is the traditional homeland of the Navajo tribe of Native Americans. In the Navajo language, the word “Dinétah” means “among the people” or “among the Navajo”. Wikipedia
Twelve peaceful, elegant and relaxing pieces composed by acclaimed pianist Connor Chee make up Scenes from Dinétah, a body of work which could be considered as a suite of music, a sequence of songs telling the story of a man, a woman, a child, a person, a soul, wandering through Dinetah, taking at times a reverent, and at others a playful look at the beauty to be found in the homelands of the Navajo people.
Each piece is introduced with a short Passage spoken in Navajo by Connor Chee, led in by Native American flute with a gentle underpinning of solo piano, before the elegance of the accompanying song is discovered. Translation from Navajo to English is to be found on the liner notes with words that are in themselves poetic, peaceful and offered in homage to a time, an event or as a blessing.
Passage 1 Sunrise commences the work with the beautiful words, ‘In the morning, I offer white corn pollen with my prayers.’ Solo piano strikes out the notes clearly, in homage, a thankfulness for life’s blessings of food.
Pathway, Passage 6, is an interesting piece as it has been written for two pianos, both parts played by Chee then carefully blended to produce the effect of horses, wild, free, bringing great joy and pride to the journeyman. Classical in composition, the power the spirit of the Navajo and their love of horses has been beautifully captured.
For those who enjoy their music with vision the quirky little piece Fry Bread comes with a wonderful clip of making the bread from scratch, fat in the pan reaching the hot temperature required to fry the bread: the skillful hands of Doris Etcitty creating the perfect flat circle, then placing it in the fry pan. The few minute wait while it cooks the cools, ready to be eaten have been captured perfectly. Oh delicious. ‘Fry bread is tasty’. The gentle and delicate Weaving or Passage 7 is another piece well worth viewing as it captures with music the skillful and artistic undertaking of weaving a mat in the traditional style.
Piece after piece simply flows together creating a perfect journey into a world of peace and calm before finally arriving at the slow, gentle and utterly charming Passage 12 Stars which concludes a divine journey full of charm, fun and culture, based in, on and around the Navajo culture.