Sunday, August 19, 2012

In review--Honoring Elders


Blackfoot Confederacy
Elders’ Vision
Canyon Records

Indigenous music falls under “purposeful music” so listening to the CD out of context (in my home), doesn't work for me. For instance, I enjoy attending pow-wows, watching the dancers in their regalia dancing to the beat of pow-wow drums and passionate vocals, but listening to the music without the dancing and visuals doesn't work for me.  In addition, I'm a high-strung person who needs to relax so I prefer the Native American flute and softer recordings that closely fit my lifestyle.  (Note, I don't listen to rock music for the same reason).

Having said all of that, I do support pow-wows.  I encourage the pride that Native Americans have for their traditions, culture, languages, and communities.  I admit as a non-Native I don’t get the nuances of tribal drumming and singing.  I wish that I did.  However, I feel moved by the beautiful sentiments to Native American elders and beloved members of the Blackfoot Confederacy who Elders’ Vision is dedicated.  The playing here fits into an older style without the hip-hop and contemporary themes of the younger generations.  These are the type of songs you would expect to hear at a pow-wow, from the grand entries to the different genres of dancing, to contest songs for the singers and drummers, and the outro.  I can visualize the scenarios that match the music.

The drumming on the recording sounds tight and innovative; the singing sounds powerful and hearty.  These musicians stand on the shoulders of the Native American musicians that came before them and they perform with their Native pride intact, which in itself feels deeply moving.  If you attend a pow-wow, this is the type of souvenir you take home with you to remember the excitement, the humor of the announcers, the intense gazes on the young dancers’ faces when they dance for the junior prize, and the heartbeat of Mother Earth.  And if you enjoy listening to pow-wow recordings; this is your tradition or area of cultural research, Elders’ Vision runs 70 minutes.  That’s a lot of pow-wow singing and drumming powerfully rendered by folks who know what they're doing.





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