Friday, July 20, 2007

Article: Power Songs Will Make You Strong

Power Songs Make You Strong

Recently I encountered someone who wanted to know if punk music was good energy for a hard workout. After we discussed punk music and its lyrical content, intuitively I felt that there must be better music for an intense workout (physical exercise).

I came home and without thinking much about it, I pulled out some new releases of Native American pow-wow songs. And the thought came to me that the warrior energy and heartbeat drum present in pow-wow and even round dance songs of the Native American people lends itself well to a powerful workout. The drum beat alone can drive a person through walking, running or other aerobic type exercise.

Of course I am not an expert, so you will have to experiment on your own. However, I am listing some recent pow-wow recordings put out by Canyon Records with a brief description of the content on the recordings. For more information go to:

Blacklodge's Watch This Dancer! features rumbling pow-wow songs of the Cree and Blackfeet tribes. Led by Kenny and Algin Scabby Robe, these drummers and singers perform Chicken Dance, intertribal, grassdance and women traditional songs. Washingtonians can feel a certain pride as they listen to this Washington-based group, while doing their workout or just for an afternoon listening pleasure.

The ever prolific Canadian pow-wow troupe, Northern Cree join up with their friends once again for another round of round dance songs. Although the musicians do not bring out the big community drum (as in pow-wow drumming), they bang away at their hand drums (frame drums). Northern Cree's Calling All Dancers (volume 6 in a series), brings on a celebratory mood and perhaps this CD would lend itself well to a workout with good friends or a good friend.

THA Tribe, another prolific Canyon Records powwow troupe, returns with another live recording, Blue Scout. This group features a lot of tongue and cheek lyrics, and a musical mix that lends itself well to the younger generations. Powerful drumming connects with fiery vocals and there's even a song called Crow Hop, whose title caught my attention.

Thunderhill's The Clash of the Titans features a collection of contest and intertribal songs that were recorded live at San Carlos. This recording, led by songmaker, Cheevers Toppah, (who also records meditative music), has a grounding effect. And as would be true for pow-wow recordings in general, but not necessarily the more entertaining ones, Clash of the Titans not only lends itself well for a workout, but can connect us to the earth.

Wild Rice (Songs from the Menoinee Nation), hails from the American woodlands (Wisconsin). This recording featuring Myron Pyawasit, Wayne Silas Jr., Gil-Shik Pyawasit and Shane Webster has slightly different feel than the other pow-wow recordings mentioned thus far. With a mix of contemporary pow-wow songs, round dance and two-step songs, a variety is offered. And similar to many Canyon Records CDs, a wealth of material can be gleaned from the linernotes so your brain can also get a workout.

On a final note, if you are seeking cool down music, try listening to recordings by Burning Sky (Canyon), R. Carlos Nakai (Canyon), Joanne Shenandoah or Mary Youngblood (Silverwave), Andrew Vasquez and Joseph Fire Crow (Makoche). Or for a longer list, visit Cranky Crow Whole Music Native American Music page.

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