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Star Nation

Music By: Nadjiwan

Produced By Heading North Music

Reviewed By: Melissa Minners

               Marc Meriläinen, otherwise known as Nadjiwan, is a force to be reckoned with.  A singer, a songwriter, a multi-instrumentalist and a producer, Marc has always sought to infuse rock with the Indigenous music he grew up on as a member of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.  I’ve been listening to Nadjiwan’s music for over a decade and I’ve found him to be quite the storyteller.  For his new album, Star Nation, Nadjiwan decided to take us on a new journey into the stars.  I couldn’t wait to take a listen.

               Star Nation is based upon the stories he grew up with, stories about star people that gave him a lifelong fascination with science fiction.  According to Nadjiwan, ““Humans have always questioned and wondered about both our purpose and origins in the universe. There are numerous stories in Indigenous cultures of the ‘star people’ visiting us throughout history with the purpose of teaching us a greater understanding of not only the universe, but ourselves. In short, we ultimately come from the stars.”  He goes on to say, “Much of the content and ideas for the songs came from interviewing my mother, Hilda Nadjiwan.  She was a wealth of information, sharing both some traditional stories as well as her own personal experiences. After processing what she had told me, I decided to write a new fictional narrative that focuses on an original story rather than re-telling an old traditional story.”

               I love Nadjiwan’s storytelling technique combined with his blend of Indigenous music and rock.  Star Nation is one of the best examples of this.  The whole album is great, but there are definitely some standout tracks.  The opening track, Into the Abyss, sets the tone: “Set our sights up to the stars…Reach our hands up to the sky, searching for the answers and the reasons why…”  The whole album is a search for knowledge – looking to the sky and space for the definition of who we are, what our universe is about.  We are always searching for the answers to why things happen in the universe…perhaps the answers lie above.

               Dark Forest Theory features an old school synth sound combined with distorted metal-tinged vocals.  The Planets has a jazz tone and features poetry in the spoken word form.  The lyrics delve into the complex nature of the world, the meaning of the universe and our place within it.  Spoken word finds its way onto the album again in The Path, accompanied by Indigenous chanting, drumbeats and some synths.  Here the singer contemplates the unanswerable questions of the universe and its unpredictability.  The last track on the album, Homecoming, is a rocking track that I loved listening to while driving, the windows down and the wind blowing through my hair – a great traveling song.

               Once again, Nadjiwan brings us an album with great music and an equally great story.  Star Nation asks us to take a serious look at ourselves and our role in the universe.  It also asks us to look toward the stars with wonder and awe, realizing that there is something greater than ourselves.  A great album well-worth the listen!

Buy Star Nation at Amazon!

Published by Melissa Minners

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