Sacred Spirit

Sacred Spirit

Sacred Spirit is a musical project by German musician Claus Zundel, who is also known for another successful project B-Tribe. The music is of electronic, new age, world, ambient, house, jazz and blues genres. Sacred Spirit (in some regions known as Sacred Spirits) is Zundel's most successful project, with total worldwide album sales estimated to be over 15 million copies. For each Sacred Spirit album sold, a donation is made to the Native American Rights Fund, the non-profit American Indian organization devoting all its time to restoring the legal rights of the native American people.


The first album - "Chants and Dances of the Native Americans" was released in 1994. The album was nominated for best New Age album Grammy award. [] In keeping with the Native American theme, Zundel adopted the pseudonym 'The Fearsome Brave', and on his many other projects he is simply credited as 'The Brave'. The music conveys the stories, legends and plight of the Native Americans by combining sampled chants of the Navajo, Pueblo and Sioux tribes and sami people yoik with synthesiser backings, all driven forth by a combination of traditional drumming and electronic dance-beats. The first single released off the album was "Yeha-Noha" (Wishes of happiness and prosperity) which was largely responsible for catapulting Sacred Spirit into the limelight. The single reached #1 position in number of countries, including 6 weeks at #1 in France. In the USA, "Yeha Noha" sung by Navajo elder Kee Chee Jake of Chinle, Arizona reached top 20 in Billboard Hot 100. The album is arguably one of the most successful enigmatic projects ever, garnering sales of more than 7 million albums worldwide. []

A second album was released by Sacred Spirit, but it is a complete divergence from the original. "Culture Clash" is composed/produced by Claus Zundel up to his high quality of mood music, but the focus this time round is the blues singing of America. In keeping with the change of theme, the American release saw the group name also being changed, to Indigo Spirit.

Virgin Records released the third Sacred Spirit album in 2000. The album was nominated for best New Age Grammy award in 2001. [] This time the project's name was slightly altered to Indians' Sacred Spirit (and in some areas even that was abbreviated to Indians' Spirit), probably to inform listeners that it was different from the second album. The sub-title is "More Chants and Dances of the Native Americans". The album continues the mood and production of the first, influential album. However the album is distinctly more instrumental. Although all the tracks do feature chants or speech, each song is comprised of many short samples pieced together, unlike the first album which tended to use one extended sample per song.

In 2003 two Sacred Spirit albums were released on Higher Octave music label. The first one - "Jazzy Chill Out" features the vocal samples by legendary blues masters Lightnin' Hopkins and John Lee Hooker, in addition to tracks spiced with the warm, inviting tones of Anita O'Day and Ella Fitzgerald. [] The vintage vocal touch adds an extra emotional resonance to the cutting edge texturing of The Brave’s innovative sonics with the jazzy piano melodies and improvisations of Eric Harmsen. Harmsen’s ensemble—including a DJ, rapper, drummer and vocalist—performs regularly at the club Teatro Perera on Ibiza island off the coast of Spain where The Brave makes his home.

On the other 2003 album - "Bluesy Chill Out" Zundel collaborated with fellow Ibiza resident Dave “BK” Jeffs, a Northern Ireland native and former street musician who plays regularly at a local club named Teatro Perera. Each track was created organically, with Jeffs (who also sings and plays flute and harmonica) composing improvisational slide and steel guitar riffs as a foundation for The Brave to build his trademark synthesis upon.

“I wanted to create a contemporary recording which would draw on classic blues traditions but combine them with the Sacred Spirit tradition of chill out groove and ambience,” says Claus Zundel. His goal was to offer a fresh perspective on the blues, thereby, as he said, “dragging it out of the ghetto” of the past and into the present.


In the first album, the song "The Counterclockwise Circle Dance" is presented as native american a chant, however the man vocalist is an authentic Sami joik "Normo Jovnna" by Terje Tretnes recorded in 1994 by Dutch Channel 4 in the context of an interview as an example of joik, however despite Channel 4's denying selling the recording, it ended up in mysterious ways in Virgin Records studio in Holland. The Sami organisation Sámi kopiija have demanded royalties from Virgin Records but this has so far been unsuccesful. (NRK Sami Radio 21.12.2007)



1995 - "Chants and Dances of Native Americans"

*1. Intro & Prelude (How the West was Lost) 3.00
*2. Tor-Cheney-Nahana (Winter Ceremony) 6.58
*3. Ly-O-Lay Ale Yoya (The counterclockwise circle dance) 5.14 "Normo Jovnna" remix
*4. Ya-Na-Hana (Celebrate Wild Rice) 7.05
*5. Dawa (The Cradlesong) 4.18 (Unknown Sami female yoik)
*6. Gitchi-Manidoo (Advice for the Young) 6.01
*7. Yeha-Noha (Wishes of happiness and prosperity) 4.02
*8. Ta-Was-Ne (Elevation) 2.38
*9. Heya-Hee (Intertribal song to stop the rain) 7.37
*10. Shamanic Chant No. 5 (Heal the soul) 1.31
*11. Yo-Hey-O-Hee (Brandishing the Tomahawk) 6.16

1997 - "Culture Clash" (Sacred Spirit 2) [] ( Belgium #42, Austria #43, Sweden #53, Netherlands #59 )
*1. Intro 1:55
*2. Culture Clash 4:32
*3. Lay Down 4:40
*4. On the Road 4:14
*5. Legends 7:02
*6. i. No More Cotton, ii. Interlude To Be a Slave 3:45
*7. The Sun Won't Walk no More 7:46
*8. Black Progress 3:18
*9. Roots 6:38
*10. Babes in the Juke House 3:20
*11. i. Brownsville, Tennessee (instr.), ii. Interlude To Be a Slave #2 5:14
*12. Slow and Easy 3:15
*13. Sonnet XVIII 4:07

2000 - "More Chants and Dances of Native Americans" (Sacred Spirit II) [] ( Italy #14, France #37, Netherlands #88)

*1. Intro: Gods & Heroes 1:31
*2. Looking for north 4:18
*3. Dela Dela 4:41
*4. Land Of Promise. Mp3.Temp 5:47
*5. The State of Grace 4:26
*6. Yane - Heja - Hee 4:49
*7. A - la - Ke 4:42
*8. May you walk in sunshine 3:57
*9. The Spirit 3:03
*10. O - Loa - Ki - Lee 3:18
*11. That Noble Dream 4:51
*12. The Sad Eyed Chief 4:03

2003 - "Jazzy Chill Out" (Sacred Spirit Vol.8) [] []

*1. You're Gonna Love (feat. Tampa Red) (Theme from Vangelis Ask The Mountains)
*2. Bad Luck (feat. Lightning Hopkins)
*3. Da Cool (feat. Anita O'Day)
*4. The Roots
*5. A New Dawn (feat. Carla Rums)
*6. 03.1 Last Nite (feat. Lightning Hopkins)
*7. The Last Unicorn (edit)
*8. Love Comes My Way (feat. Ela Fitzgerald)
*9. The Sun (feat. John Lee Hooker)
*10. Chillin'
*11.Some Like It Easy (feat. John Lee Hooker)
*12. That "rive gauche" - Vibe

2003 - "Bluesy Chill Out" (Sacred Spirit Vol.9) [] []

*1. Driftin'
*2. This Earth
*3. Interlude: The Wide Open
*4. Black Rain
*5. Love Is Blind
*6. Down In Louisiana
*7. Interlude: The Loneliness of the Slide Guitar
*8. That's Right
*9. My Mother Told Me
*10. Oh Yeah
*11. Wasteland
*12. Why


ee also

*Deep Forest

External links


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