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Gila - Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee CD (album) cover

BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE

Gila

 

Krautrock

3.53 | 48 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars The first incarnation of GILA had disbanded after Conny Veit had moved to Munich to work with POPOL VUH (having been invited by Florian Fricke). After they had finished the "Hosianna Mantra" record Conny began to think about reforming GILA. What he missed was playing live, and POPOL VUH was primarily a studio band. Florian offered his services(piano & mellotron) while drummer Daniel Ficheischer(POPOL VUH & AMON DUUL II) also wanted in. Conny was very much satisfied with GILA being a trio except he didn't have a lot of confidence in his vocals. He was taking lessons but decided to ask his singer girlfriend Sabine Merbach to help out in that regard. So yes you could say this GILA record really was a POPOL VUH album except that Conny Veit's compositions replaced Florian Fricke's. It should be noted that the only time this band performed any of this material was on a cultural TV program.They disbanded not long after with Fricke and Ficheischer going back to the POPOL VUH project while Conny joined AMON DUUL II during their tour of France in the winter of 1973/1974.

Later that year he joined GURU GURU for a short time. At this time Veit was heavily into reading books and the one book that really came alive lyrically for him was a Dee Brown book called "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee". He decided that this GILA record would be based on this book about the real life tragedy of one of the worst and last massacre of Native Americans in 1868 by white european immigrants. Conny also says that on the first GILA record as well as the live one they concentrated on improvisations, whereas this record he used tight arrangements in setting the texts to music, and then mixed them with improvised parts. There are some excellent pictures of Veit, Ficheischer and Fricke in the liner notes but none is better then the picture on the back cover of the band looking so deeply sad, like they had just witnessed the massacre themselves.

Side one of the original album(first 4 tracks) looks at the life the natives lived before the massacre. The music is lush, dreamy and beautiful. The lyrics are very expressive of the freedom they enjoyed. On "This Morning" we get words like "This morning I woke up, I opened my eyes.This morning I woke up, I looked out the window, I saw the birds flying high to the sky ah..." also "Think i'm going to take a walk outside, colours and flowers, the wind was blowing through my hair ah..." Dual vocals on this one and Conny is playing his 12 string and also some mournful electric guitar. Florian plays piano. "In A Sacred Manner" again features meaningful lyrics like "In a sacred manner I live, to the heavens I gaze. In a sacred manner I live, my horses are many." It ends lyrically with "Oh I live, oh I live, oh I live." The mellotron from Florian is beautiful while Conny sings solo and plays both his 12 string and electric guitar again. Florian is on the grand piano again while Daniel plays drums and bass on this one.

"Sundance Chant" lyrically looks at a young native man and says "Look at the young man" while Conny's electric guitar plays. Later "Can't you see him he is feeling good, cause his sweetheart is watching him." Just words about people living their lives as they have for centuries. Some well timed clapping in this one as well. "Young Coyote" is an instrumental of Veit's solo 12 string guitar throughout. His playing reminds me of Page. "The Buffalo Are Coming" is an incredible song instrumentally. The piano early is joined by electric guitar and mellotron. Drums are prominant 1 1/2 minutes in. Great sound. Piano is back 2 minutes with guitar. Flute before 3 minutes. More excellent electric guitar later then some chanting about the buffalo coming. "Black Kettle's Ballad" looks at the aftermath of the massacre, as if it's just happened. Acoustic guitar, electric guitar, flute, drums, piano and vocals. "Little Smoke" is the closing instrumental. A sad song with mellotron and slowly played acoustic guitar and piano. Drums become prominant after 3 minutes, then electric guitar. Piano ends it.

The biggest compliment I can give the music here is that it is as meaningful as the title of the book and record.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |

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