A piece from the award-winning New Age album, Woodland Moons. The song's composer and multi-instrumentalist, Marcia Watson Bendo, narrates a story about the history and significance of the April "Maple Sugar Moon" for Native American tribes. The song features Native American-style flute, keyboards, stringed instruments, and percussion. The artist is a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.
Marcia has been nominated for Best New Age | Ambient | Soundscape Recording for the 19th Annual Native American Music Awards which will be held in Niagara Falls, NY on November 2nd, 2019. Congratulations Marcia!
The broadcasters have spoken, the votes have been tabulated and now ZoneMusicReport is pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 ZMR Music Awards presented Live in New Orleans on May 18th, 2019.
Marcia Watson Bendo wins "Best New Artist" for Woodland Moons.
Marcia's album "Woodland Moons" has remained at the number 2 spot for the OWMR Music charts for the month of February. See below...
The ZMR Awards has nominated Marcia Watson Bendo and "Woodland Moons" for Best New Artist. The Award ceremony and concert will be held on May 18th at the House of Blues in New Orleans, Louisiana. More info on the event.
Marcia’s album “Woodland Moons” has been nominated for “Best Neo Classical Album” and “Album Of The Year” by the One World Music Awards. The winners will be announced at the 6th Annual OWMR Awards Show, 9th June 2019.
For a list of all the nominees, click here
Marcia's album, "Woodland Moons" has registered at #2 on the One World Music Chart for January 2019. See Chart
Posted and Archived here. Repost with permission. Review by Candice Michelle
Woodland Moons is the remarkable debut album from composer and multi-instrumentalist Marcia Watson Bendo. A native Oklahoman currently residing in Texas, she was inspired to create an album based on the full moon names of the indigenous Woodlands People, the Anishinaabe. Herself a member of the Potawatomi tribe of whom comprise part of this larger group of indigenous peoples of upper North America, Bendo has mastered the art of playing on Native American-style flutes, which appropriately lead this album with captivating melodies.
Set to twelve contemporary arrangements accompanied by keyboards, strings and percussion, Bendo takes the listener on a fascinating musical journey through the seasonal year, with her lovely compositions evoking a serene sense of innocent wonder and connection to nature.
“Fallen Leaves Moon” is a lovely opener wherein Bendo’s graceful flute melody takes the foreground while an accompanying piano melody just underlies it, as the other classical instruments seemingly create an aural backdrop of gently cinematic orchestration. Following next is “Planting Moon”, a more dainty and whimsical piece that moves at a quickened waltzing pace. As with many of Bendo’s compositions, this one brings-to-mind that of watching a Nutcracker Ballet style performance.
Many vivid scenes are conveyed throughout this album, such as on “Midsummer Moon”, which employs the sounds of breezy tones and sprinkling chimes as they effectively paint images of fireflies dancing in a midsummer night breeze; or “Yellow Leaves Moon” which opens mysteriously with spiraling minor-key notes that seemingly mimic leaves whirling in the wind.
Songs inspired by winter are often my favorite on an album, and the enchanting “Snow Moon” is certainly one of my favorites on this one. Featuring an ensemble of flute, harp and keyboards, Bendo uses these instruments to create softly twinkling effects that seemingly portray a wintry scene of moonlit snowflakes gently swirling in the wind. Closing out the album is the lively and rhythmic “Berry Moon”; set to a dynamic waltzing pace, this piece conveys a cheerful mood of renewal and celebration.
One thing I both noticed and enjoyed while listening to this album, is how my attention always seemed to be drawn upwards – at the moon, the stars and the treetops. It would seem the composer wanted to evoke a sense of fascination and joyful intrigue in her audience, and she’s certainly excelled at that.
Sure to be cherished by many listeners, Woodland Moonsbeautifully embodies the often hard-to-recapture mystique of many earlier “new age” music albums – particularly those in the style of Windham Hill Records or the outstanding collaborations of R. Carlos Nakai and Peter Kater. Additionally, Marcia Watson Bendo’s notable integration of classical motifs would make her music especially well-suited for ballet and other visual dance performances.
Warmly engaging and uplifting, yet overall subtle enough to play in a spa setting, Woodland Moons is a superb album and can only signal more wonderful things to come from this artist! ~ Candice Michelle
Marcia's album, "Woodland Moons" Tops The One World Music Chart for December 2018 (2nd month in a row). View The Chart and/or listen to the December Chart Show for 2018 below.
Marcia Watson Bendo
Throughout my 20+ years of reviewing music, now and then a debut recording comes along that blows my socks off! Woodland Moons from Marcia Watson Bendo (Native flutes, keyboards, and orchestrations) is one of those rare "Are you kidding me?" albums. Woodland Moons blends sonorous Native flute melodies with lush orchestrations and features influences from both the classical and new age genres, as well as, obviously Native fusion music. Percussionist Rafael Pereira contributes on nine of the twelve tracks and the acclaimed Trammell Starks handled mixing and mastering. Watson Bendo's flute playing is magical, but it's the depth and breadth of her compositions and her spot-on perfect orchestrations that elevates Woodland Moons to its heights of beauty and artistry.
Review by Bill Binkelman
Link to Review
Marcia's debut album, "Woodland Moons" is #1 on the One World Music Radio Chart for the month of November. You may download the chart here. Click on the attachments below.
Marcia'a album "Woodland Moons" comes in #2 on the Top 100 One World Music Chart. For more info.
To see the complete and full chart - Click Here
Review by Steve Sheppard c/o OneWorldMusic.com.
There are times when you think you have heard all that there is to hear and then an album of such clarity and beauty hits you straight in the face and demands to be listened to and adored on high, that statement rings true for this new offering by Marcia Watson Bendo, entitled Woodland Moons.
This music journey of splendour starts with the track Fallen Leaves Moon, the sullen and moody composition falls around us like a day in late October, the flute is perfection indeed, but the symphonic backdrop is simply sublime at setting this vast cinematic offering squarely on stage for us all to admire.
It is no wonder to me that fans of contemporary instrumental music are falling in love with this release, it has everything, and on this next piece calledPlanting Moon we hear even more, we hear the energy build, we feel a sense of excitement through the music, the combination of an uplifting flute, a wonderfully enchanting piano and a sumptuous array of fine orchestrations.
The moon is always a subject of mystery and imagination and throughout my life I have looked up and have been entranced by her beauty. On Strawberry Moon the inclusion of percussion can be found, this comes courtesy of the only other musician on the album in Rafael Pereira, mix this with some startlingly significant piano and the constant narration of the flute, and once more you have a total winner of a track.
It must be said I am struggling to believe that this is a debut album, something of such quality you may find in someone’s collection at about the three album mark, but it’s true, and if you keep an open ear to this next piece calledMidsummer Moon you will see why. Midsummer nights are indeed magical and the artist has created that energy right here in this piece that is so redolent of the subject matter, why I could even see Puck himself playing his pipes in the bow of a tree, while I gaze upwards at the midsummer moon and as I do, I repeat the words of Shakespeare “My soul is in the sky.” Musically this even touches the hem of the classical genre and one of the finest performances off the entire album can be found right here!
We are approaching the mid-way marker on our musical voyage of great beauty and as we do so we arrive at a graphic opportunity superbly seized by the artist called Forest Moon. There is a lightness of spirit about this offering that is very appealing, it could easily follow our midsummer night in the woodlands of mystery and magic. Some delicate natural sounds give us the backdrop of a Forest in the light of a new day, and the style and essence almost manifest a first light moment of musical brilliance by the musician on the flute.
Yellow Leaves Moon is our arrival at the fulcrum of the release, once more Watson Bendo conjures up a magical energy, one that sparkles through and into her performance, but then this tranquil fluency drifts over us completely so that we may enjoy this breath taking reverie via the flute and the lush orchestrations completely.
Being one who has studied animal totems for many years, I adored this next piece called Big Bear Moon. Watson Bendo has it down to a tee here. The slow and almost bizarrely delicate energies of the Bear are captured here, in a delightfully fun performance; the chimes and orchestrations just add weight to an already clever arrangement.
One of the most charming offerings on this album comes at this juncture and called Snow Moon. The symbiotic connection between flute and piano are melded here with perfection, a little reflective energy and an imploring performance by the artist go to make this a stunningly pretty, but also remarkably pristine composition, and here one can truly enjoy the attention to detail and the essence of the subject matter with ease.
As we edge ever deeper into this dimension created by Marcia Watson Bendo, we come across a delicate arrangement called Crane Moon. The piano here manifests the open musical threshold for us to crossover and into, the master narrator weaves tones from her flute in a wizardly fashion, one can see the Crane very carefully walk with such softness and exactness, it is exciting to listen to and be enthralled by this offering. A tip of the hat goes to Rafael Pereira for those timely crescendos.
Our journey has been long, and as we near a bend in the road we see the sign for the longest offering on the release, this one is called Maple Sugar Moon. There is a real rich tapestry of musical craft within this piece, one that almost glistens with expectation. The tempo is slow and full and one must say to this point that the piano here and added sounds, all go to manifesting a whole new layer of brilliance already created by the flute.
The penultimate piece off the release is fun and quite charming, Little Bear Moon, at just less than five minutes long it is the shortest track off the album, but that hardly matters as you will find another masterful performance and another one that has a really lively sense of fun within its light-hearted construction.
It is amazing to think that we are now about to open the last doorway to the album and it is a piece rather charmingly called Berry Moon. This is the perfect end of release piece as well, it has a slight elevation in tempo, it has a fluent and crisp melody, one that will raise the energy of the listener enabling them to leave the album fully refreshed, entertained and having enjoyed every second of what is a superb compilation of beautifully crafted arrangements.
Woodland Moons the debut album, yes I did just say that, has to one of the best released so far this year long. The production quality, the splendid orchestrations take us into an almost David Arkenstone styled realm, and through the tremendous performances from Watson Bendo, the listener will feel like they have journeyed far and wide to wonderful musical vistas, and would not hesitate to do so again. Woodland Moons is one of those albums you just cannot fault and as such I can see this going on to being a real listener favourite and a huge chart hit.