GermanophonGila : "Bury my heart at wounded knee" (1973)****°
After Vietnam the theme of massacres came into attention which leaded to a movie picture about massacres including the one at Wounded Knee which moved Conny Veit to start at this concept. Like the movie the picture starts in a positive mood to illustrate some of the native culture's positive foundations, then changes into a chocking event. "This morning" and "In a sacred manner" are about this kind of a certain purity, with no need of searching a job, no need for looking for profit of what problems the reassembled "reeducated" native Indians have cought now, because "the (ancient) sacred manner" kept the richness of living simple and basic, but also fundamental. The track "Black Kettle's Ballad" goes back to some dramas like the one at Wounded Knee were some firm Indian believers tried to gain back their native spiritual ground by a forbidden dance and were therefore slaughtered, causing a permanent loss and a certain permanent guilt for what made further foundations for the American government. The mellotron with piano has a certain melancholy and also the guitar is weeping, but melodies are beautiful. Little Smoke" and "The Ballad are coming" spreads in their "word" as from beyond a spiritual world into hopeful pictures. It is as if the original dance to save from out of the spirital world is speaking and reaching us from beyond the still living scene. And this brought by white men ! Once some white men were awaited as saviours of their now a bit lost world and ground and may be such musicians and musical concepts are already such progressive words from beyond another reality to bind really already such old believes within the new and still a bit lost world.
The LP has been reissued on CD now by an official label with two bonus tracks which might be a bit different in style (I didn't hear the reissue) probably not worth the musical concept.
For me this album is one of the best concept albums of the seventies to come out of Germany. It has all the progressive and psychedelic elements to expect from a Krautrock record, without much experiment except to express the clearness of the musical concept. The influence of Florian Fricke's mellotron and piano is undoubtly and is much more moving as usual. The texts are interesting to get involved emotionally into the whole content too. There's some folk rock flavour in it too and this is why prog folk rock listeners should try this album too. The female vocals even reminded me at Trees although the instrumentation and goal of the music is more progressive and floating. A part of the text and rhythms were truly native and were referring to the book "Bury my heart at wounded knee" written by Brown Dee from which they used a few fragments.
The LP was made after "the cooperation of Conny Veit (Gila leader) with Florian Fricke (Popol Vuh leader) in Hosianna Mantra. The cooperation lived near by so the cooperation was also practically easy. Female vocals were by Sabine Merbach, partner of Conny. The concept was born after being caught by the poetical power of Dee's book, but were also influenced by the constantly images of Vietnam on the news, with the appropriated considerations over some American ideals.
Bootleg of this cd by Germanophon 1995 (Germanofon 941031), then it is reissued by Garden of Delight (with no noice system remastered) and by Akarma Records in Italy.
The name Gila probably referred to an area too were prehistoric Indians lived (the Gila National Forest located about 44 miles north of Silver City on NM15).
Gila made two other albums. Their first work is also a musical concept and recommended. Their lately reissued "Night Works" is more psychedelic, but for my taste too much into space to see the ground to walk upon in it.
Gila web site at
Gila wounded knee web site used to be at http://unland.purespace.de/gila/gila1973.htm