Yeha Noha

Today’s song comes from a collection by the musical project, Sacred Spirit, which combines new age music with traditional stories and chants of the Navajo, Pueblo and Sioux nations in what’s now the United States as well as the Sámi people of Norway and Sweden. The group donates funds to the Native American Rights Fund which “…has successfully asserted and defended the most important rights of Indians and tribes in hundreds of major cases, and has achieved significant results in such critical areas as tribal sovereignty, treaty rights, natural resource protection, and Indian education.” (NARF website)

Sweety and I came to know of this music through the minister who married us. She’s a profoundly spiritual and intellectual person who has supported us through our time together and whose journey we followed closely from study to ordination. So it was a natural choice for us to ask her to weave together the ceremony that helped complete our bonds. We meet up occasionally with her and her husband (who, like me, is very much into cycling and from whom I’ve learned a lot about that topic). We always have fascinating discussions about a wide range of issues.

There are some pretty amazing tracks on the 1995 album, Sacred Spirit: Chants and Dances of the Native Americans including one called “Tor-Cheney-Nahana” (Winter Ceremony). Once it transitions from the introductory sequence, it has a moving beat that causes me to imagine riding on a horse across open plains or paddling a canoe vigorously, all in a land untrammelled by colonization. It was actually quite difficult to choose which song I’d share today as so many of them speak to me.

Today’s selection, “Yeha Noha” (Wishes of Happiness and Prosperity), has an element of melancholy with the cello but fills me with the hope of what the title promises. The drums are amazing, as is the vocal track. I feel like the writers and musicians were respectful of Indigenous culture and practices in the way they melded them with electronic music.  Listening to this album as I type on my computer near a window, I see birds flying back and forth, as if they approve of the wishes and and music, too.

All the pieces on the album are unique and entrancing in their own way, and I highly recommend it. I purchased it for a friend of mine who has been a spiritual guide in my life since meeting him about 12 years ago, and we enjoyed sitting in the dark one night and listening to the whole work. 

We have a second volume the group issued in 1997, Sacred Spirit II: Culture Clash. The cover art for Vol. I (the image used on the YouTube audio) has a beautiful sepia-toned image of a young Indigenous man; Vol. II features an Elder. The project’s website shows a total of seven of this type of album. 

Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy. 

Here’s the official audio from the Sacred Spirit YouTube channel:

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