Deborah Martin and Erik Wøllo reunite for the daring and vibrant release Kinishba, the follow-up to their dynamic 2009 album Between Worlds, which initiated listeners to another time and place, honoring the Apache people and the sacred nature of Native American culture.

Like its predecessor, Kinishba birthed from many years of study, on-site research, recordings, and collaborations with a variety of Apache tribal members, most notably Edgar Perry — who was a significant contributor to the preservation of Apache traditions. This new release entwines the electronic ambient sound that Martin and Wøllo are known for with traditional tribal instrumentation throughout, highlighting these collaborations. “Burial Ground” opens with Martin’s ethereal refrain: “Here I am, Here I stay,” an honoring song for those who have gone before us. From its austere beginnings, the track swells into the hypnotic as Leno Edwards, Alfredo Way and Edgar Perry add drums and vocals of an Apache Crown dance. Martin’s voice soars with theirs over a lush bed of Wøllo’s synthesizer for the composition’s riveting finale. On “Fort Apache Meadowlarks,” Wøllo’s euphoric guitar glides over a tapestry of Martin’s pueblo shakers, Taos drum loops and vocalizations. The entire work features these powerful sonic realizations engaging the listener in a transformative experience.

For Martin and Wøllo, Kinishba is “the house of the ancestors,” the inspiration for this latest work about honoring those who came before, and the healing power of ceremony. Kinishba, named for an abandoned pueblo on the White Mountain Apache Reservation, is a reflection on this theme, a vivid collection of 10 pieces that open a respectful, authentic window into remembrance ceremonies of the Apache people. These compositions are an homage to the traditions of the American Indian, ensuring they can never be lost to time like Kinishba itself. For in Apache, there is no word for “goodbye.”

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Heart of the Warrior


Absolutely one of the finest CDs of this year or any year.

Kinishba stands strong as a new creation with elements of today together with so much to remember from our complex human history.

Kinishba is a prolific new-age world release that sends a powerful message to humankind.”


Written by Robin B. James on 03/06/2024:

Music is a very sacred way of honoring the ones of the past, and a way of embracing the present, with all manner of percussion, vocals, flutes, electric guitars, synthesizers and programming by Deborah Martin & Erik Wøllo, with precious recordings of Edgar Perry, Red Eagle, Prince George, Alfredo Way, and Leno Edwards. To add authentic atmosphere there were many field recordings of natural sounds such as meadowlarks, river sounds, and insect sounds, which bring to the electronics a very inclusive perspective.

The ghost herself sings of her situation, she is our guide, and within the mix comes the blending of other voices and beats of another time. “Burial Ground” (5:42) evokes these feelings with sparse instrumental support, joining the Apache Gaan (Crown) Dancer songs and then returning back to the ghost guide in her resting place, and then back to the grandfathers and their beats. The dead are always close by, forever resting in this holy land.

“Creation Story” (5:18) combines a voice and beat from another time, our guide brings together the pulse of life energy and meaning with the instrumental drones which wash over all. The physical location known as Kinishba was discovered by the Apache back in their day as a few crumbling old brick structures linked to many influences from Mogollon and Anasazi cultures. Hopi oral traditions speak of Kinishba as the place of abundant snakeweed, and the place is known by some descendants of Apaches as the Brown Houses. The track “Kinishba” (5:50) suggests wind and birds in a wooded area, with the modern instruments and perhaps the sounds of some amphibians from a marsh. The song is sung with its beat, more life emerges from the rare desert wetlands, the song deepens up yet more with amazing hand percussion.

Starting with a low beat suggesting night songs from the world outdoors, “Voices of Nature” (3:50) is rich with innovative vocalisms sung with a powerful confidence. This combination continues with “Fort Apache Meadowlarks” (5:33), the song has a beat with lots of shakers and other hand percussion instruments, the guitar soars and the heart cries, whistling within the fellowship of these birds.

The beat is the heart, pulsing with strength and more vocalisms, the “Heart of the Warrior” (4:53) brings new energy for the battles ahead. The beat is essential, sometimes quietly clearing and opening up into the historic recordings of these voices and the remaining stones of the old village, “Prayer Song” (4:40) features so many voices from the past, conveying a haunting truth through the echoes from moments long past which are honored here today.

The grandfathers sing as we solemnly walk on the earth

Prince George plays the Navajo cedar flute, and Red Eagle plays the mouth bow, leading the way upon “Natures Paths” (5:13), the singer guide joins in creating a sense of entrancing repetition. It is clear that our guide can help us understand the knowledge, gathering life and the grandfathers sing as we solemnly walk on the earth, in awe of the “Mountain Spirit” (5:42). This path goes on forever, our planet has its journey of the sun, “Life Spiral” (5:35) acknowledges the circular movements of the four seasons, the rotating of the earth, always invoking the great spirit, keeping the traditions of the water, earth, sky, sun, and air around us.

Heard here are vocals, with rare performances on the mouth bow, rainstick, Mayan medicine belt, Taos drums, turtle rattle, Roland V-synth, steel tongue drum, ocarina, electric guitars, woodblock, Apache basket, straw whistles, garden weasel, Pueblo shaker loops, Navaho cedar flute, tambourine, goatskin shakers, and probably some other stuff too. Mastered by Howard Givens at Spotted Peccary PNW Studios, Kinishba is available as a CD, as well as for streaming and downloading, including high resolution studio master formats. The cover art is by Elisabeth Østensvik, the album’s bold and engaging graphic design and 24-page multicolor booklet is by Daniel Pipitone, at the Spotted Peccary Studios NE.

There is a challenge in bringing together different cultures and different times. Accepting this risk is important today as we realize the inevitable loss of the past, with its understanding of the constant presence of life here on Earth. Kinishba stands strong as a new creation with elements of today together with so much to remember from our complex human history.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder New Age World Review:

Kinishba is a large pueblo ruin containing nine masonry buildings constructed between 1250 and 1350 A.D. by the pre-Columbian Mogollon culture. The pueblo is situated on the upper end of a grass-covered valley and originally had 400-500 ground-floor rooms standing two or three stories high.

Deborah Martin and Erik Wøllo found that Kinishba became a pathway of continuing to honor the Apache and American Indian culture.

I do not believe we could do enough to honor our American Indians and atone for the way they have been treated for so long. Efforts and any action to support them and create awareness are necessary. I tip my hat to Deborah and Erik for composing this impactful message of music, lyrics, sounds, and authentic Indian vocalizations.

What you will hear is very spiritual and connected to all living things. The Indians respected nature, the animals, and the bounty they provided to their tribes. If the world adopted their way of life hundreds of years ago, we would not be in so much danger of destroying our environment.

Most tracks feature beautiful sounds of nature that get you closer to what is real and meaningful and what should be to us all. The rhythms of the music (particularly the drum) and the heartbeat of nature will instantly connect you to the purpose of this recording.

Kinishba is an opportunity to listen and learn. While feeling all the vibrations through the various instruments, voices, and natural sounds, you will reconnect with your inner voice and once again realize that all things are connected and that music can be the link to all of that.

So, stop, listen, and feel the music and the sounds; let it relax and disconnect you from outside distractions, and you will find it easy to focus quite quickly. This healing music intends to make us realize we are all one because we are and will always be.

Kinishba is a prolific new-age world release that sends a powerful message to humankind.

A review by Midwest Book Review website; 3/13/2024

Deborah Martin and Erik Wollo present Kinishiba, a music CD created through years of study, on-site research, and recordings with Apache tribal members including Edgar Perry. Kinishiba (named for an abandoned pueblo on the White Mountain Apache Reservation) pays homage to American Indian traditions. The songs balance the electronic ambient sound that is Martin and Wollo’s specialty with traditional tribal instrumentation throughout, in compositions inspired by and respectful to remembrance ceremonies of the Apache people. Kinishba is highly recommended for both personal and public library collections. The tracks are Burial Ground, Creation Story, Kinishba, Voices of Nature, Fort Apache Meadowlarks, Heart of the Warrior, Prayer Song, Natures Paths, Mountain Spirit, and Life Spiral.

(This review will also appear in the Cengage Learning, Gale interactive CD-ROM series “Book Review Index” which is published four times yearly for academic, corporate, and public library systems.)

Textura review; March 2024

However well-intentioned, there’s always the danger that in fashioning a project designed to honor Native American culture and the Apache people the artist will do the opposite in producing a treatment that’s either too surface-level or registers as merely one more unfortunate instance of cultural appropriation. With Kinishba, Deborah Martin and Erik Wøllo show they’re guilty of neither misstep. The groundwork for the release was established fifteen years ago in their first collaboration, 2009’s Between Worlds. In both cases the two have created material that wholly embodies the subject matter as opposed to presenting it from an external vantage point. Musically, Kinishba brings vividly to life the customs and rituals associated with Native American culture while at the same time infusing the material with ambient-electronic textures and contemporary sound design.

Testifying to the integrity of their approach, Martin and Wøllo dedicated countless hours to background study and communication with different Apache tribal members, specifically Edgar Perry, Prince George, Leno Edwards, Alfredo Way, and Red Eagle (brief bios of the five appear in the handsome twenty-four-page booklet included with the release). They also contribute musically, with Prince George credited with Navajo Cedar flute on “Heart of the Warrior,” Red Eagle mouth bow on “Natures Paths,” Edwards and Way Apache drums on “Burial Ground,” and Perry Apache narration and snake, coyote, crow, and owl sounds on “Voices of Nature,” to cite four examples. In the album’s ten pieces, chants and drumming help make a direct connection to the Apache world, as do field recordings of insects, bees, meadowlarks, and site locations. For their part, Martin and Wøllo contribute synthesizers, vocals, wood flute, ocarina, and a host of percussion instruments, from rainstick and goatskin shakers to turtle rattle and Taos drum loops.

Consistent with its title, “Burial Ground” reverentially honors those who’ve gone before, something intimated by Martin’s vocal utterance, “Here I am … Here I stay.”  Alongside ambient whooshes and rattlings, pounding drums and the chanting voices of Edwards, Way, and Perry emerge, the disparate parts woven into a spellbinding tapestry of ancient and modern sounds. Crickets surface amidst an enveloping swirl of vocals and synthesizer atmospheres in the title track, Kinishba referring to the remains of an ancient Mogollon Pueblo village located on White Mountain Apache Tribal lands. The sounds of other animal creatures permeate “Voices of Nature” to emphasize the importance with which all life-forms are regarded, not just the human. “Fort Apache Meadowlarks” separates itself from the other tracks in giving prominent roles to Wøllo’s plangent electric guitar playing and shimmering keyboard figures. Many a piece is animated by thrusting drum patterns and vocal chants, “Heart of the Warrior,”“Prayer Song,” and “Mountain Spirit” prime examples. The tracks unfold as lush, detail-intensive incantations through which ceremonial voices, electronic elements, and percussion details dizzyingly swirl.

With Kinishba, Martin and Wøllo have created a recording that’s both respectful of the Apache people and their culture and features music of sincerity and authenticity. In Wøllo’s words, “The importance of actually immersing in the culture and getting to know it from the inside is crucial.” For those coming to Native American culture from without, their recording offers an insightful, valuable, and musically enticing portal into this special and singular realm.

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