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Old 09-11-2005, 05:49 PM   #1
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Thumbs up A unique video - Red Leaf Takoja "Song of the Heart Beat"

Just wanted to let folks know about a unique video that a very good friend of mine, Howard Bad Hand put together. It's called:

Red Leaf Takoja "Song of the Heart Beat"

Taken from the website:
A music performance video featuring a singer's eye view of Red Leaf Takoja, one the most popular Lakota drum groups of the 80s and early 90s. Extensive footage of contemporary Native American song and dance performance. Get a peek inside this singing tradition in interviews with singers, elders and spectators. A soundtrack CD and a full color 16 page booklet are included with the DVD. Words to each song in Lakota and English are also found in the booklet.

THE RED LEAF TAKOJA SINGERS, now known as THE HEART BEAT SINGERS, were drawn from reservation communities in South Dakota, from Denver, from Oklahoma and from the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico. In portions of this video they are joined by other talented singers from several other locations in New Mexico, South Dakota and Oklahoma.

The original Red Leaf singers and their younger offshoot, Red Leaf Takoja, were known as traditional song keepers for the Sicangu Lakota (the Rosebud Sioux Tribe), several group members were also widely recognized for their skill at composing appropriate songs for any occasion upon request. Several such songs are included in this video. Also included is the most extensive known video recording of Lakota Victory Songs.

Recorded at the Taos Pueblo Powwow and Rosebud (South Dakota) Fair in 1990 and at Denver March Powwow in 1990 and 1991, this music performance video documents an aspect of contemporary Lakota culture poorly understood by the general public -- the celebration of life in song and dance, and the central part played by these musical expressions in virtually all of contemporary Native American society. The producers invite you to relax and allow yourself to sink into the melodies and become saturated by the color and movement of the dancers and experience first hand, the compelling, life-affirming feelings engendered by this musical way of life.

Description by Howard Bad Hand:
This program is an original presentation of Native American Indian music. To the best of our knowledge, this program is a first ......the first ever indigenous American music video album.

In March 1990, High Star Productions' wholly owned subsidiary, A Living Hoop Production began producing and recording the live musical performance of Red Leaf Takoja as they traveled throughout the powwow arenas of North America.

What has unfolded is something unique and timeless: the celebration of a unique art form that is both moving and inspirational -- American Indian music, as influenced by the Lakota.

The traditional aim of Lakota music has been to nourish holy, worthy and able people, or, alternatively, to nourish the holy, worthy and able qualities resident in each human being. In the production of this video program, that same intent was adopted. The music of Red Leaf Takoja is presented raw, as a living experience to which the viewer has the same opportunity to react as that enjoyed by the dancers and spectators pictured in the video footage.

The music itself is pure sound. Interpretation into a living, organic context is aided by the visual support of video footage that captures the live expression of a dynamic culture responding to the music.

The approach of this program is unconventional. Introduced and narrated by Wes Studi, the program is not a documentary, though documentation of a portion of contemporary Native American experience does occur. The producers do not believe the viewer needs, nor does it help to have his experience or its meaning explained to him. The program is educational by intent only to the extent that the structure of the music being presented is explained. The director's approach has left the viewer free to experience the dynamism of an insider's participation in the heartbeat of Native American culture.

As the camera follows Red Leaf Takoja along the powwow highway, the viewer is invited in to see the intimacy of the singers within their drum group--a view that has never before been captured. The passions, feelings, rhythms and style of a singing group that has been heavily influential in the Indian world of music are explored.

This music is the expression of the contemporary American Indian world. Jingle dress dancers, grass dancers, fancy dancers...traditional dancers...all come to the center of the hoop to celebrate life dancing to the music of Red Leaf Takoja. With the camera's eye for movement, the experience of the music comes alive in the dancers' rhythm and style.

Howard, Terrie and Pat Bad Hand, Tom Teegarden and other musicians are represented throughout the ninety minute program by their musical compositions and songs. From their placement inside the singer's world, viewers will be able to see how this music is created and is evolving, what it means to the songwriters and how each song's inspiration is tied to a meaningful experience.

An interested viewer will delight in the opportunity to understand the Red Leaf musical style that has been carried on for generations. In observing the connection between the Native American members of the group and Tom Teegarden, an Anglo, the viewer discovers that this music is for all people.

Song of the Heartbeat captures the musical performance as well as the response of the dancers to this music. The gatherings and celebrations created to develop and enhance this music and the traditions that maintain it are subtly woven into the program in a montage of vision and color. Nature, as the source of this music, speaks beautifully and simply for herself throughout the vision.

Red Leaf Takoja music has been described as uplifting, meaningful, beautiful, harmonious and rhythmic. As Song of the Heartbeat is a presentation of this music, each song is described and interpreted for the viewer. The Lakota words to each song, with their English translations, are presented in subtitles. Each dance that goes with a particular song is also presented and explored through vision. This is done both to entertain and to broaden the viewers' experience of Indian culture, song and dance, tradition and spirit.

As music is the connection to true communication, this Native American music video presents itself as a first and is a unique expression of the joy and spirit naturally inherent in song and dance.
Howard Bad Hand


If your interested in purchasing this video, you can go to:
http://www.highstarproductions.com/H.../products.html
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