Folk Scene: Paul Mounsey – ‘Nahoo’ , Robbie Robertson – ‘Music for The Native Americans’


Newsnet Scotland is always looking to diversify and expand.  Today we begin what we hope will become a permanent fixture on the site with a look at music past and present from a variety of genres.

The intention here is to share great timeless music with Newsnet Scotland readers and, hopefully encourage interaction as you share your own musical experiences, reminiscences and tastes. 

Paul Mounsey ‘Nahoo’ (1994)

An expatriate Scot living abroad in Brazil, Paul Mounsey ultimately became homesick whenever he listened to any traditional Scottish folk music sung in Gaelic. Paul felt an instinctive cultural connection existed between Native American music and the music of the Gaels.

A highly eclectic collection of sounds and ideas, the whole album coalesces to offer the listener the feelings of a man who left Scotland, ironically rediscovered his native land more tangibly abroad, and homesick, returned to the land of his birth.

The cure for that voyage is Nahoo, combining traditional Gaelic melodies, samples and samba-based rhythms.

Track: 1( Passing away) 2 (Alba) 3 (Robert Campbell’s Lament) 4 (Journeyman) 5 (Dalmore) 6 (Stranger in A Strange Land) 7 (As Terras Baixas Da Holanda) 8 (From Ebb To Flood) 9 (I will Go) 10 (My Faithful Fond One) 11 (Illusion)

From the lament Passing away (the loss of the language of the Gaels), followed by Alba, a danceable anthem for the Gaels, onto traditional folk songs given a modern take, Nahoo is an album that speaks to all who have rediscovered Alba.

Album available from: Foot stompin’

Bonus: Paul was recently invited to arrange tracks from Proterra (the 12th album by the Scottish Celtic rock band Runrig) – originally from the 1981 album Recovery – Paul reworked An Toll Dubh  – to create a mighty tribal stirring of the blood.

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Robbie Robertson (& The Red Road Ensemble) ‘Music for the native Americans’ (1994)

In 1994, Robbie Robertson, former guitarist/singer with the seminal American roots rock group, The Band, was commissioned to provide the soundtrack for a television documentary series called The Native Americans.  For this project, Robertson assembled Native American musicians. ‘Music for the native Americans’ by Robbie Robertson captures the modern political voice of the Native American via original and traditional songs.

The album intimately informs the listener on the nature of Native American culture and their battle for survival.  Robbie, of Mohawk origin on his mother’s side, was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to a Jewish father and a Mohawk mother, had his earliest exposure to music at Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation – these nations are the Mohawk, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca and Tuscarora – where he spent summers with his maternal family.

We are taken on a journey of the Native American spirit, the album opens with Coyote Dance (rather an eagle soaring in the mountains) on through to the poignant tragedy of the fabled Ghost Dance to the beautiful Cherokee Morning Song.  All the songs on ‘Music for the Native Americans’ share the fortunes, the long hardships of struggle and touching moments of cultural intimacy of the American tribal nations – a discovery of Native American culture through the storytelling of Robbie Robertson who himself becomes a cultural Twisted Hair (storyteller).

Tracks: 1(Coyote Dance) 2(Mahk Jchi – Heartbeat Drum) 3(Ghost Dance) 4(The Vanishing Breed) 5(It’s a Good Day to Die) 6(Golden Feather) 7(Akua Tuta) 8(Words of Fire, Deeds of blood) 9(Cherokee Morning Song) 10(Skinwalker) 11(ancestor song) 12(Twisted Hair)


Bonus: Clip from a later 1999 PBS documentary “Making A Noise: A Native American Musical Journey” with Robbie Robertson.

Both Nahoo and Music for the Native Americans can be heard on spotify if you install spotify on your computer.