Music from the American Southwest: Estun -Bah

Tony Duncan includes strands of four western Native American nations in his background. He is Apache and Arikara, Hidasta and Mandan. He plays the Apache flute, incorporating both Northern Plains and Southwestern styles in his work as a musician, a pow wow dancer, and a world renown hoop dancer.

Darrin Yazzie is born for two clans of the Navajo people, Water’s Edge and Coyote Pass. Guitar is his instrument, one he took up as a teenager while growing up in Arizona. With it, he’s found ways to compose music which shares his understanding of landscape and heritage as means to nourish the spirit.

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Jeremy Dancing Bull is of the Arikara and Hidasta people. Growing up in North Dakota, he was inspired by the heart beat sound of Native drums, and learned from his father, also a drummer. Dancing Bull found that he could play any rhythm he heard, and was able to improvise freely as well.

These three men have come together as the group Estun-Bah. On the original music they have created for their album From Where the Sun Rises there is a true conversation among their instruments. Yazzie’s guitar often takes the introduction, as on Spirit of Mother Earth, leading into Duncan’s soaring flute lines weaving in and out of the colors added by Dancing Bull’s drums. At other times Duncan’s flute takes on a bird like note while guitar and drum deepen to a rich melody.

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These are band members who clearly listen intently to each other, and to where the music leads them. As a result, they have created an album of contemplative music which honors Native traditions of the southwest and takes them forward as well.

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