CD Title: Begin
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Nadjiwan consists of Marc Nadjiwan (guitar, vocals, piano, Hammond B3, and bass), Adam Makarenko (bass), Gord Fynes (drums and percussion), Debashis Sinha (drums and percussion). Marc Nadjiwan, Canadian artist and front-man of the band, was born in northern Manitoba and was raised to appreciate the untamed beauty of Northern Ontario. Keeping in touch with his Ojibway roots, Nadjiwan attended pow-wows to listen to traditional Native American storytelling. He also kept himself musically fed on a steady diet of traditional Native American music as well as Canadian icons such as Gordon Lightfoot. Later, he became intrigued by the pop music culture. An intertwining of all of these arts and influences is what produced Nadjiwan’s first albums, Brother and Awake, which combined traditional storytelling and Native American music with a pop feel.
Begin, is the perfect follow-up to the award-nominated Awake. Most of the album’s songs were conceived during Marc Nadjiwan’s extensive travels throughout his time touring both Canada and the United States. The lyrics of each song tell a story that, whether politically conceived or personally driven, any listener can relate to. Easier, the third track of the album, is perfect for the current times with its look at those coming into power and how, somewhere along the rise to power, they lose touch with those they are supposed to be representing. The lyrics are poignant and powerful: “Listen to their meetings and discussions, pads of paper and pens in hand / Mapping out our future and drawing up their plans / Do they know what we’re thinking? Do they know wrong from right? / Somehow I don’t think so, their motives kept from sight.” The guitars and percussion give the listener a feel for the Native American culture and assist in weaving the tale.
Nadjiwan’s blending of traditional Native American sound and pop music is a marriage made in heaven. The lyrics of Begin are a storybook worth perusing. In short, Nadjiwan’s Begin is a musical phenomenon you do not want to miss!