Tchiya Amet
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Tchiya Amet

NOR CAL (Oakland, Ukiah, Covelo, etc), California, United States

NOR CAL (Oakland, Ukiah, Covelo, etc), California, United States
World Reggae

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The easiest answer in describing this disc would be to say that it’s reggae. The easiest is clearly not the most accurate, though. Sure, there is a lot of reggae here, but that’s far too limited a vision. In fact, this often works towards jazz and progressive rock. The vocals are great, many times conjuring up references to Sade. The music is well thought out, varied and delivered with skill and style.


There’s a cool horn section at the opening of the album and the first cut (“Esho Funi”) is an inspired reggae number. While there is some nice vocal work on the tune, the instrumental arrangement and performances can’t be ignored, either. There is also some male reggae rapping included in addition to Amet’s voice. The music that opens “Keep Chanting” is magical. In some ways, the arrangement and song in general here seems like something Jon Anderson might do. This is mellow and quite pretty. The vocal layers here might be even better than the ones on the opener. The music is certainly not lacking, either. “Master of Desire,” as a lot of the other pieces, features some classic retro keyboard sounds. The overall mode is a slow, fairly mellow reggae sound. It’s got some great style and textures. The vocal hook is catchy. There is a spoken section on the piece, later.


“Love & Joy” is bouncy and fun. Both the horn section and bass line are quite noteworthy. The ethereal vocals on “Egyptian Bluez” stand out. The musical arrangement again seems rather like some of Jon Anderson’s music. In fact, the cut would probably qualify as progressive rock. “AST MAAT” is particularly reminiscent of Sade. There is some reggae in the mix, but it’s got that smooth, melodic sound and vibe that Sade’s best music always had. The male reggae vocals are nice and the keyboard sound is classic.


“Po Tolo” is truly a standout of the set. The bass brings a great groove to the table and sort of dances around in the backdrop. There are some really mystical layers of sounds and the vocals are among the best of the album. Reggae and retro rock sounds are both present on “Where the Dog Ran” but it is a change of pace. It seems mellower and slower than the rest of the music on the disc. It’s a powerful piece, in terms of performance and lyrical content. It’s quite pretty, too. When the arrangement builds out later, it’s another that seems closely related to progressive rock. Organic and quite jazzy, there are elements of prog on “Fire Water,” too. It’s one of the most unique arrangements (both musically and vocally) of the whole set. That jazz element is reinforced through the guitar solo later in the number.


On “Equinox” Amet provides a rendition of a John Coltrane cut, but with original lyrics added to complete the picture. The result is a tune that’s essentially great jazz music. The lyrics and vocals really feel like they belong to the piece, rather than an afterthought. “Precession of the Equinox” is a short and quite pretty piano solo. The language of the song “No Kwi Si Iga (Star Days)” is Cherokee. The bass sound drives it and multiple layers of vocals bring the magic. It’s pretty and dramatic.


“Great Purification of All Things” starts in more pure reggae territory, bringing things back to the king of music heard early in the set. There are some more progressive rock like bits later in the piece, though. With a title like “Fucked up System,” it’s obvious parents need to consider listening to the tune around their children. Musically, though, progressive rock is certainly the order of the day. There’s reggae built into it, but it’s harder rocking and heavy than that might indicate. The cut is a nice change, though and stands apart from the rest of the album, while still seeming connected at the same time. This tune includes another of those tasty male reggae raps.


Jazz meets reggae on Amet’s intriguing rendition of the classic tune, “Wonderful World.” The closing piece is “Egyptian Bluez Instrumental.” As potent as the original version was, this one seems even stronger. It’s clearly progressive rock, but could also fit under “jazz,” too. There are some great retro sounds here, perhaps leaning towards something like early Yes or Vanilla Fudge. However it’s labeled, though, it is a great tune and a perfect closing piece. All in all, this is an excellent set that should please fans of reggae, but also prog rocker and jazz followers. In fact, it should appeal to just about anyone who enjoys good music.
- G.W. Hill/Music Street Journal


Tchiya can be described only as a learning experience of the spirit. Reggae? Yes. Folk? Yes. Enlightening? Most definitely. Tchiya has a smooth rhythm, earthy lyrics and calming instrumentation. This music is good for the mind, the spirit and the heart.


Notable tracks include "Esho Funi," which is a graceful reggae track with fantastic vocals and a nice groove. "Love & Joy" is a great example of what listeners can expect from this artist. This optimistic and positive offering is what Tchiya specializes in and her lovely vocals will soothe even the most tortured of souls. The light rhythm and extraordinary sound quality make this piece a relaxing and revitalizing journey. "Po Tolo" is another fantastic song with wonderful vocal harmonizing and a mellow groove that will endear it to listeners of all cultures and walks of life.


"Equinox" is one of the more standout pieces on the album, with vivid imagery within the lyrics that celebrate the seasons. Tchiya's talent as a lyricist is evident here and her seductive vocals lend themselves wonderfully to the slightly eerie rhythm. Likewise, "Precession of the Equinox" is a melodic number with graceful piano work that leads seamlessly into "No Kwi Si lga," an island-based piece that brings to mind beautiful blue skies and warm sunshine. Tchiya has the power to transport listeners to far places full of beauty, light and peace.


"Wonderful World" is a cover of the classic by Sam Cooke coupled with the Bob Marley song "One Love," and Tchiya gives this offering a wonderfully positive vibe. This will surely become a fan favorite. Her soothing vocals and the light rhythm take this song to a new level and give forth a sense of serenity. All of the songs on Celestial Folk Music are inspiring and Tchiya offers positivity, optimism and hope within her music. The sound quality is flawless throughout the album and the soothing reggae beats will provide a sense of calmness and relaxation.


Tchiya's vocals carry a sense seductiveness coupled with a smoothness like liquid silk. Instrumentally, these songs are carried out with seemingly effortless talent and elegance. Overall, Celestial Folk Music can be listened to at any given moment of any given day and will be sure to brighten the lives of anyone who is able to open themselves to Tchiya's celestial music.
- Rhonda Readence


Tchiya Amet - Celestial Folk Music
Celestial Folk Music? There's a new category for you. Does it have any appeal for reggae fans? Yes. Tchiya Amet, who's from Chicago and of Native American and Moorish heritage, harnesses reggae beats on many of this album's tracks, and while the end result is not as reggae-heavy as the one other album of hers that I have (2003's Black Turtle Island), you could file Celestial Folk Music under reggae and not be too far off the mark. The album is indeed folksy in its laid-back feel, but Amet's got serious concerns like the environment and keeping things in balance on her mind, and in addition to reggae she knows how to use jazz, African, Brazilian, new age and indigenous musics to their best advantage. Celestial Folk Music is thus an enjoyably wide-ranging disc that varies from the playful sensuality of "Love & Joy" to the creation mythos of "Where The Dog Ran" and infectious Afro-Latin jazz that percolates through vocal and instrumental versions of "Egyptian Bluez." Amet's delivery is unfailingly sweet and gentle, even on a tune as plainspoken as the comparatively shocking "Fucked Up System," and it's easy to find crossover potential in some of these songs, a few of which wouldn't sound out of place on an album specifically for children. Drawing upon her experiences as (among other things) herbalist, home-schooler, yoga instructor and holistic healer as well as a musician, Amet has created a melodically and culturally engaging album that's warm and inviting for music lovers of all kinds. -Tom Orr
- Jammin Reggae Archives; TOM ORR


12-21-12
Nick De Riso
somethingelsereviews.com: Celestial Folk Music 2012
Tchiya Amet creates this interesting subtext, weaving a mystical tapestry of stories, myths, legends and spells through a varied rhythmic landscape. But even if you aren’t familiar with the source material, Celestial Folk Music charms.


Largely recorded in Rio, and sounding every bit like the cultural crossroads that city has always been, Celestial Folk Music begins with “Esho Funi,” a lithe reggae-informed number that showcases Tchiya’s smoke-filled vocal — very much, at times, like Sade’s, but with a far more direct sense of purpose. The track, digging deeper, is actually a meditation on a one-with-nature teaching from the Lotus Sutra, but there’s no shame in saying you could swing and sway to this all night with that information only lodged somewhere deep in your subconscious.


That’s just how ingratiating “Esho Funi” is, and the same holds true for the balance of Celestial Folk Music.


“Keep Chanting,” a sweetly conveyed Buddhist theme sung over a spritely swinging rhythm, is followed by “Master of Desire” — a soulful cry focusing on the teachings of the Baghavad Gita, presented through the prism of another lilting island rhythm. The horn-driven “Love and Joy” makes a direct reference to these sessions’ surroundings, as Tchiya offers a popular Brazilian song with this breathy confidentiality.
- somethingelsereviews.com: Nick de Riso



12-20-2012
insideworldmusic: Matthew Forss
The soothing, world beat music of America's Tchiya Amet combines soulful reggae rhythms, jazzy melodies, and various instrumental medleys that encapsulate innovative and engaging musical creations. Tchiya's voice is whispy and airy--similar in tone to Sade's voice. The new release of sixteen songs contains a bit of afro-funk and afro-latin rhythms and melodies. The laid-back vocal delivery and ear-friendly percussion, guitars, bass, keyboards, and other instruments make the entire album stand out. The reggae and funk-tinged, "Po Tolo" is a good example of reverberating beats and a sultry vocal line. The reggae-influenced "Great Purification," provides a throbbing organ sound and languid percussion beats with sultry flute. "Ast Maat: R U Sirius Enuff" is a more upbeat, hip-hop-focused tune with jazzy vocals, fluid melodies, and a reggae pulse. "Equinox" opens with a funky sax and languid bass line. Tchiya's breezy vocals represent a bit of Brazilian pop with similar instrumentation from the same region. However, Tchiya knows how to make the music shine in multiple genres. As a whole, Celestial Folk Music contains blissful folk music with strong reggae, funk, jazz, new age, and world beat ties. The fluid vocals are classy and Sade-esque. The melodies, rhythms, and instrumental solos are outstanding. This is a perfect companion for world beat, world jazz, world reggae, and folk music with an ethnic twist and cosmic origin. ~ Matthew ForssThe soothing, world beat music of America's Tchiya Amet combines soulful reggae rhythms, jazzy melodies, and various instrumental medleys that encapsulate innovative and engaging musical creations. Tchiya's voice is whispy and airy--similar in tone to Sade's voice. The new release of sixteen songs contains a bit of afro-funk and afro-latin rhythms and melodies. The laid-back vocal delivery and ear-friendly percussion, guitars, bass, keyboards, and other instruments make the entire album stand out. The reggae and funk-tinged, "Po Tolo" is a good example of reverberating beats and a sultry vocal line. The reggae-influenced "Great Purification," provides a throbbing organ sound and languid percussion beats with sultry flute. "Ast Maat: R U Sirius Enuff" is a more upbeat, hip-hop-focused tune with jazzy vocals, fluid melodies, and a reggae pulse. "Equinox" opens with a funky sax and languid bass line. Tchiya's breezy vocals represent a bit of Brazilian pop with similar instrumentation from the same region. However, Tchiya knows how to make the music shine in multiple genres. As a whole, Celestial Folk Music contains blissful folk music with strong reggae, funk, jazz, new age, and world beat ties. The fluid vocals are classy and Sade-esque. The melodies, rhythms, and instrumental solos are outstanding. This is a perfect companion for world beat, world jazz, world reggae, and folk music with an ethnic twist and cosmic origin. ~ Matthew Forss - nsideworldmusic: Matthew Forss


This Austin, Texas-based reggae artist- Seminole/Cherokee/Creek/Blackfoot heritage- and her Lighthouse Band releases their conscious roots reggae style first album. It is a low-key delight, combining bass-heavy grooves with the singer's smooth, I-Threes-influenced harmonies. The band's musical inventiveness is a large part of the album's charm. "Rastafari is Universal" rides a jump-up, carnival riddim, while "Reservation Ragtime Blues" incorporates bits of Scott Joplin's rags into its piano fills.

- from the September/October 2001 Issue of


Dreadlocked neo-Native American ex-astronomy student-turned reggae-singer Tchiya Amet melts cultural concepts like hot water on jello on her debut cd Rise Again Truth (Milky Way). Combining vocal and rhythmic stylings from jazz, international pop and reggae with lush and soaring sax arrangements and traditional (as well as non-traditional) concepts, her singular worldview reveals itself in songs like “Natural Life”, “Shed No Blood”, “Natural Woman” and “Rastafari is Universal.” With personal roots in Africa, Europe and the south side of Chicago Tchiya draws most deeply in her lyrics from her Native American roots. Out of this cultural miasma she builds a highly agreeable sound that resembles a spicy stew whose individual ingredients (Motown, salsa, Afro-pop and doo-wop are all admitted influences) bear less attention than the result of their adroit combination.

In her interpretation of traditional songs like “Lakota: Four Directions” and “Tsalagi Thankful” Amet presents ancient wisdom in a beguiling pop form as befits a woman whose personal journey includes the pursuit of a degree in physics, performance with the Oberlin Jazz Ensemble, producing festivals and her own line of clothing and coordinating the Natural Life Organic Food Co-op while teaching yoga, women’s studies and African History (among other subjects) on the side. And this girl can sing! Two very different songs, “Tribe of Dinah” in which her personal point of view takes on worldwide implications, and “Reservation Ragtime Blues”, in which she sets a stark reality tune to the music of Scott Joplin, exemplifying her all-encompassing vision.

- from the August2K Issue of the BEAT


Crucial Reggae ain’t dead, not if Tchiya Amet’s even-tempoed debut Rise Again Truth (Milky Way) is any indication. Local singer/keyboardist Amet and handpicked area musicians supply the intricate and airy musical red carpet for this Soul Sista’s reasonings on living a natural, ital life. Still, two things distinguish Rise Again Truth from other lyrically intense reggae: jazzy arrangements and the incorporation of Native American tradition. On the propelling “Lakota: 4 Directions” for example, Amet mixes Rastafari Theology with indigenous mythology, the music evoking a hypothetical blend of Finnish sensation Varttina vocal harmonies, Burning Spear’s saxophone, and Aston “Family Man” Barrett bass grooves. Likewise, a Native American Mallard flute flows through the Cherokee song “Tsalagi Thankful,” with the outcome being a far cry from New Age thanks to drop riddim beats and dub breaks. On opener “Natural Life,” Amet’s voice evokes the glassy phrasing of Sade, but with more straight-ahead conviction. Edwin Livingston’s donates killer basswork throughout, but shines on “Reservation Ragtime Blues” and “Rastafari is Universal,” a tune in which Amet alludes - like Dizzy Gillespie’s brilliant “Kush” - to the great African Kingdom that gave rise to the Pharaohs. Some may find the dread lyrics a bit preachy, but Rise Again Truth is - musically and lyrically - head and shoulders above the lovey-dovey pop reggae. Some tracks (“Natural Woman”) can stand alone as instrumentals. Jah Live!
- from the Austin Chronicle 02-04-00


"More bountiful harvest for this season, as another powerful Sister releases a new album. I have been a fan of Tchiya Amet for several years and this release is most welcomed by her many admirers. Since she relocated to Northern California recently, I have been able to keep in touch with this talented and multi-faceted artist and her music. Black Turtle Island is interesting, diverse, and different. It is firmly rooted in the roots reggae tradition while blending many indigenous and contemporary cultures and rhythms. Stand out tracks are "Ani Tsisdu" (Rabbit People), an original song sung in the Cherokee tongue reflecting that part of Tchiya's heritage. "I've Known Rivers", adapted from a poem by famed African American/ Cherokee Harlem Renaissance poet and activist Langston Hughes, her first light-hearted love song "Jah, Music and You", an excursion into salsa on "Musica Alegre", and one of my favorites, "Fountain of Love" adapted from a poem by Marcus Mosiah Garvey. The photos are superb in the CD package as well as providing all lyrics. Tchiya is a poet and these songs are works of art. About her music, she says, "This music seeks to express the voice of a nation denied the most basic of human rights time and time again: the right to self-determination, even the right to exist. The existence of Black Indians of Turtle Island (North America) is a controversial topic in Indian Country today. Nevertheless, we continue to exist, and we continue to make music." An excellent recording with fine instrumentation and you will love this CD! Tchiya sings lead and background vocals, plays keyboard on some tunes, and her husband Mario Vela plays drums, and percussion; they both produced this release on their own Milky Way label."

- Fall 2003 Reggae Nucleus Magazine Review


“Tchiya Amet broadens her horizons - and ours - on Black Turtle Island (Milky Way). To her former mix of reggae and native American sounds she adds jazz, rhythm & blues and world elements creating a style that is all inclusive without losing herself in the mix. Many of the songs focus on the experience of “black Indians” neglected, forgotten, ignored but whose spirit, it is obvious from this work, is on the rise. One song is sung in her native Cherokee and another adapted from a poem by Langston Hughes (who shared the black Cherokee cultural background she reflects). Tchiya has risen above musical categories to present a work that is beautiful and unique while continuing her personal musical journey in an unorthodox yet perfectly charming way. Her strong sense of social conscience is tempered by a sweet voice and sophisticated musical arrangements. Recommended for those who cannot be contained by barriers and categorization. “

Chuck Foster, BEAT Magazine www.GetTheBeat.com

- October 2003 BEAT Magazine Review


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Awakening to the beauty of her journey, Tchiya Amet, singer, songwriter & keyboard artist, shares her sweet
sounds and lyrical reflections with the rhythms of reggae, world and celestial music.

Roots
Chicago, IL Born August 5th, 1961 and raised as a young girl on the South side of Chicago, Il., Tchiya’s interests
were as diverse as her cultural heritage. Her rich background resembles a patchwork quilt with the golden thread
of spirit connecting each facet of her life.

Affinities
Tchiya has First Nations Roots: Moor, Cherokee/Tsalagi, Creole, and Blackfoot. She is contemporary Urban Indigenous Woman, which is complemented by her core ties with mother-nature and her close affinity to the land,
water, animals, cosmos and spirit. She is comfortable in the remoteness of the countryside, the depths of a lush
jungle or on stage at metropolitan nightclubs soothing the hearts and souls of those within listening range. In essence, her gifts of lyricism, music and performance manifest in every fiber of her being and allows her roots to
reach the now, the then and the will be…

As a young girl at the age of eight, she played the piano for many hours a day and composed her own tunes
without formal training. She continued to play and write mostly for herself.

Music Shaped by Life Experiences
Much of her music is shaped by her life experiences. Her roots in the rich and diverse music town of Chicago, IL
is replete with a keen sense of appreciation for life and its’ many nuances. At Oberlin College where she secured
a degree in Physics and also entered the realm of The Conservatory. Simultaneously continuing her musical
interest, Tchiya took up Jazz Piano and went on to perform with the Oberlin Jazz Ensemble.

As member of the ABUSUA Black Student Campus organization, Tchiya was introduced to many meaningful
ideals, principles and prophets of the Black Consciousness Movement. This would include Ron Karenga, founder
of the Nguza Saba (the foundation for the cultural observance of Kwanzaa) as well as Malcolm X, “Until all of us
are free, none of us are free!”

After Oberlin, Tchiya studied Galactic Astronomy in the graduate program at the University of Texas in Austin with Gerard and Antoinette de Vaucouleurs. Some years later, this is also where she began her studies in Cultural Astronomy with Linda Schele. It was during this time that she learned about Natural Life and Healing, Yoga, the
Spirit and Power of the Mind. Complimenting her healing consciousness, Reggae Music, the Rastafarian and
Black Hebrew Israelite Movements opened her eyes and mind to Truth, History, Health and Culture.

As a natural progression, Tchiya became a vegetarian, yoga instructor, herbalist, a proponent of home-schooling,
a professional musician, performing & recording artist, festival producer, organic gardener, natural foods co-op organizer, cultural astronomer, & most recently, acutonics (cosmic sound healing) practitioner and instructor.

******************************************************************************Musician (Singer/Songwriter/Keyboards), Ethno-Astronomer and Craftswoman, Tchiya Amet was born August 5, and raised on the South Side of Chicago, IL. Her ancestral heritage resembles a patchwork quilt: She is First Nations: Black Cherokee and Blackfoot. Her way of living reflects the Wisdom of the Ancient Ones from the Four Directions.

Tchiya has played in Irie Jane, One Nation, the Presidents, World Tribe, Karison, Dogon Sirius, Isaac Haile Selassie and Joanna Marie. Tchiya Amet & the Light House Band has toured with the Spirit of Bob Marley Festival Tour;while still living in Austin, Tx., they traveled to both coasts: Spring 2001 to St. Petersburg, FL for the Seminole Tribe "Discover Native America Pow Wow". Summer found them out West at Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, Roots Mountain Fest in Tonasket, WA and Reggae on the River. Other festivals & cultural events include: World One Day in El Cerrito, CA., Houston Women's Festival, Austin Jazz Festival, Alamo Community Garden Festival, the Austin I.S.D. Pow Wow and Healing Bloody Island Concert at Robinson Rancheria (Pomo Indian Rez).

After re-locating to Northern California in 2001,
Tchiya Amet & the Light House Band had the opportunity to perform at Monterey Bay Reggae Fest, One Root Festival, and San Francisco Reggae in the Park. Highlights of 2003 included Benbow Summer Arts & Music Festival, Bend, OR Munch & Music Fest, Starbelly Jam Fest at Crawford Bay, BC, One World Festival in Penticton, BC, Round Valley Blackberry Festival, Los Angeles African Marketplace Native American Festival, and the Mayfair Festival in Allenstown, Pa.

Her early influences include Marcus Garvey, Bob Marley, Freedom Fighters, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Sade, Patrice Rushen, Brenda Russell, Fela, Sun Ra, Gregory Isaacs, Burnin' Spear, Cesaria Evora, Abyssinians, Misti and Roots, Aswad, Black Uhuru, and Steel Pulse.

Tchiya cho