Music. I’ve had a love affair with music most of my life. When I was four, I taught myself to play piano on my 3 octave toy piano (the black notes all played). My mother demanded to know who had taught me and could hardly believe that I had taught myself with the little music book that had been sent with the toy.
For me, I would hate to think of what life would be like without music. Music — it lifts our spirits, it lightens our load, it becomes our friend in rough or terrible times and a celebration when times are great. Those with evil intentions use music to promote their propaganda — knowing that music can capture the spirit of a people and cause people to think certain ways about things that they might not otherwise believe.
And so today, I thought we might talk a little about music with a little twist — music Native American style. Specifically the Native American Song. I’ll be giving away a free paperback copy of SOARING EAGLE’S EMBRACE — the novel I’ve always said was my “musical.” Yes, some lucky blogger will be the winner of this novel today so please come in and leave a comment.
For those of you who haven’t heard many Indian songs, you might wonder what’s so different about a song in Native America. In truth, though many Native American songs are like any other song, there are different considerations that attach themselves to Indian songs. And it’s those considerations that I find fascinating.
Here’s a good place to start, where you can listen to some pow-wow music — the drum (this is a group — called the drum — it’s usually several men who sit around a drum and drum and sing — it is called simply a drum). Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12RPjPSklxA
These pictures were gotten,by the way, from the 26th Annual Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque, NM. The photographer is Derek Mathews.
Many of these songs are passed down from generation to generation. Some, however, are new. Here’s some more pictures of these incredible singers. All of these pictures,by the way were taken by Le Andra Peters and are from the website http://www.gatheringofnations.com
Here’s some more pow-wow music: http://www.powwows.com/main/pow-wow-radio/
Now, just a little bit of info about Indian songs. This is from the book, The Indian How Book by Author C. Parker, who lived amongst the Indians. Every song has a purpose and no one sings outright for fear of awakening spirits that are attracted to the song you’re singing. The scales don’t necessarily follow what we know of as the chromatic scale, which follow our string instruments, more or less. But songs were owned and no one may sing another’s song without permission.
Many of the songs make you want to get up and dance — and dance and dance. Once again, referring to Arthur C. Parker and his book, The Indian How Book, he says, “It may be that these old Indians were pagans, whatever that word may mean, but certainly they knew how to make men feel that there was a Great Spirit in whom we lived and moved and had our being. Oddly enough, I have known white men and women, who felt the same way about the songs of the red people, and they have returned again and again to the councils of the Indians to drink in this feeling of mystery, this sense of unseen powers.”
Whatever the reason, I know that I love to dance at pow-wows. Something about the music gets into your soul and before you know it, you’re out there with the other dancers, dancing your cares away.
Hope you’ve enjoyed my blog and I’d love to hear your take on many of these things. Did you listen to any of the pow-wow music? And if you did, tell me your thoughts.
SOARING EAGLE’S EMBRACE is a book about song and about the power of song. Also THE LAST WARRIOR is about a particular song that’s so compelling, it frees the spirit. If you’ve enjoyed this blog, consider having a look at Amazon, where, if you are a part of KindleUnlimited, you can read LAKOTA SURRENDER, PROUD WOLF’S WOMAN, LAKOTA PRINCESS, BLACK EAGLE and SENECA SURRENDER free. So, c’mon, join the fun and have a look at them today.