Joanne Shenandoah: A Voice for Lifegivers and an Artist You Should Know About

Joanne Shenandoah, Ph.D., is a unique American voice who will inspire and strengthen your spirit while delighting your soul. She is a composer, singer, actress, and author who has recorded numerous CDs and is a Grammy Award winner as well as the winner of over 40 music awards, including 13 Native American Music awards. She has performed at the White House, Carnegie Hall, the Parliament of World Religions and many other places globally. In 2012 she won the Atlas Award for her work with the climate movement in the US and worldwide.

Her discography includes music in a variety of styles and covering  many areas of life. Two of her CDs are my favorites, though. Matriarch is an album of Iroquois Women’s Songs issued in 1996 including traditional chants and melodies. Joanne honors a particular woman with each song, revealing how the song relates to the woman’s life and spirit.

My most favorite album of hers, though, is her most recent, titled Lifegivers. This is what she herself has to say about it:

Lifegivers is a tribute to the life cycles of women from the first beating of the heart to when her spirit leaves to walk across the stars along the Milky Way as she returns home to the Skyworld where she will be welcomed by her loved ones. Each song is meant to bring the listener to a place of celebration for every cycle of life. As I asked for these melodies to flow, I realized I was inspired by different aspects of rhythm and music from different cultures of the planet. It has been my great honor to be able to be embraced by many lifegivers of the world; new borns, young women, pregnant women, women in love, women who sing, women who teach, and women of wisdom.

Joanne’s voice on both these albums is deep, rich, and lyrical.  I hear something more, however, a power,  a strength and healing, a call to all beings to be our best selves, a vision of what it is to be a woman that is a high standard to live up to, but one worth striving for. When I listen to her music, no matter how far away from myself I may have strayed in the deluge of the day, I am drawn back to a place of grounding in my own essential being that reminds me of who I am and what is important for me to do with my life.

To learn more about Joanne Shenandoah, go to her website , where you can also hear samples of and purchase her music.

By Carolyn Lee Boyd

Carolyn Lee Boyd's essays, short stories, memoirs, reviews, and poetry have been published in a variety of print and online magazines and blog sites and various anthologies. She explores spirituality in everyday life and how we can all better live in local and global community.

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