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The Breath of Life
The Sounding Board
by R.J. Lannan

At the end of every river there is an area of rich deposits of silt. From this silt life springs forth in many forms. Sometimes is it plant and animal life, sometimes it is ideas and sometimes it is music. This one is music. Let me put this simply. With less than two decades of walking the earth this new artist has the soul of a shaman that has lived a hundred years. Evren Ozan with his Native American flute is a wizard at putting to music his keen, unbiased observations of life. On Alluvia, his latest album, (and he has several) he recounts layer by layer his organic, examination of life around him.

His music is breathed into a simple wooden flute, an instrument he learned to play at age six, with occasional help from Mac Ritchie's acoustic guitar, various forms of percussion by Michael Dailak and Simeon Darley-Chapin, and bass by Andrew Dow. The songs are not just the familiar echoing nature chants. There is some fine flute work in Alluvia and some of the tunes are even a bit funky. This boy has imagination and he's not afraid to use it.

The opening song, Belle's Quirky Independence made me wonder about Belle. But you know dogs. They have their own way of looking at the world. We love our animals as family and they return our love compounded on a daily basis. This is one those funky songs I mentioned. Jaunty and light like a day of fun in the desert sun.

The Climb reminded me of an old Donavan tune called "There is a Mountain", no pun intended. The song is a travelogue of adventures with many peculiar pitfalls is a jazzy sort of way. This gave me a unique perspective into Evren's versatility. Sure, there are slippery places in life and sometimes it is an uphill struggle, but our reward is waiting at the top. One of the best cuts on Alluvia.

Loss is a sad song. A traditional, slow tune that echoes off the canyon walls and into our souls. It is a lonely song and it makes me wonder what broke this courageous heart? An unwanted flight across the country, the loss of an old friend perhaps, or even the loss of stability in one's life. In any case, the story is hidden in the music and it is good to let it out.

Chiaroscuro is sort of an odd term to apply to music, but the shadings of light and dark become obvious in the song. The flute represents the creeping of sunlight upon the rocks as the day grows older and then again in the failing shadows as the light retreats for its nighttime slumber. Evren's flute makes it a live thing, stealthy, sinuous and warm 'til the dusk arrives.

Alternatively called the 'corpse pose" in yoga, shavasanah is said to produce a restive state in the body. Evren's tune Shavasanah does the same thing for the spirit. Very calming, slow and relaxing, the tune is a fitting closing for the album. We began with an exciting, busy tune and ended with a placid, soothing tune as if we have lived in a full day. Maybe even a daydream.

I watched a film of Evren Ozan performing on stage. To say this young person is focused is an understatement. You can tell he feels the music. There are a lot of musicians out there that are not artists. This one is. He has come far for his meager years and he had a lot ahead of him. For elusive moments of calm and periods of utter joy, I recommend this album.

January 7, 2009

The Sounding Board
by: R.J. Lannan

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