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Old 01-31-2007, 09:23 PM   #1
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Ponca Songs

A friend asked me the other day if i knew anything about Ponca songs and the order they have to be sung. He said that he was told that certain songs had to be sung together in a special order. I know very little about Ponca songs. Does anyone here know about this?
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Old 01-31-2007, 09:34 PM   #2
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A friend asked me the other day if i knew anything about Ponca songs and the order they have to be sung. He said that he was told that certain songs had to be sung together in a special order. I know very little about Ponca songs. Does anyone here know about this?
Hmmmmm....

Are you talking about "pow wow songs" or are you talking about the "buffalo dance songs"?
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Old 01-31-2007, 09:59 PM   #3
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Powwow songs
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Old 02-01-2007, 08:18 AM   #4
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Powwow songs
Ok...I'm not Ponca, but I would caution you to be careful in distinguishing the difference between the Pow Wow and a Hethuska. Maybe someone else can speak on behalf of the Hethuska Society Dances as I am unsure of the "protocol".

Now, if your talking about Pow Wows...everyone has their opinion...just like you've got two buns to sit on!

The songs you sing are a matter of personal preference. If you're gonna sing someone elses songs, especially if they're on a recording, make sure you sing them correctly. Be aware that sometimes native words on recordings do not always come out very clear. The best way to learn is from an individual. Even then, you need to be aware of who you are learning from. For example, there are (I think) 4 different dialects of the Pawnee Language. The best way to go is to compose your own songs. But, in the process of doing so, study those old songs to learn things about them like the structure, stories and anything else you can dig up.

Now, back to your question about order, and the personal preferences! It is up the Head Singer (at a Center Drum) or the Lead Singer (of a group) to pick and choose the songs OR pick people to start up songs for him. Naturally, have that individual (Head/Lead Singer) start up the "processional" songs (i.e. G.E., Flag, Vet) and the MC will help you out on the order the committee has chosen to go with as singers these days are typically from different communities. From there, it is a free for all! However, be advised that if you start up "slow songs" (or songs that are not as strong in energy or intensity for the lack of a better description) during the later parts of the dance, then you're gonna run the risk of "killing" the pow wow.

I'm gonna stop right here and hopefully someone else will come back in offer more information for you/us. As you start listening/learning songs, you'll find what I mean about the "slow" songs and "fast" songs. From there, you will learn how to make your songs "flow".

LSS
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Old 02-01-2007, 04:10 PM   #5
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Just as a side note...I pulled up two threads that might be of use to you in the Straight Dancing forum; 1 by Fat Albert and the other by Historian.

Read up on these. Your questions may be answered.

LSS
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Old 02-02-2007, 08:31 AM   #6
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I have one question to ask... do you have any Poncas on your drum? As a lead singer... I get nervous singing songs that belong to other nations, and almost as a rule don't do them without express permission from a singer of that nation, and even then... not until I have it 100% correct and verified that I am singing it right from the singer that gave me permission to sing it.

I always caution people that ask about singing songs of another nation, that unless they know that they are singing them 100% correct, that it might be a good idea not to sing them out. I also warn against listening to a cd and learning it (9 times out of 10... more like guessing at it) because some groups I have run across have recorded songs that they shouldn't have. I never want to offend anyone, so if I'm not sure, I don't do it, I stick to the songs I know... or compose something to fit what we need.

So again, back to the original question... if you have a Ponca sitting on your drum, ask, if they don't know... have them ask someone else they know that is more knowledgable to come help out... if not... make your own decisions, but I recommend sticking to the rule of thumb... if you're not sure... don't do it.

Good luck...

Paselo~
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Old 02-02-2007, 07:47 PM   #7
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i always liked that ponca women's song...REALLY pretty..
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Old 04-03-2007, 09:49 AM   #8
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Keeping up with the older and newer Ponca songs can be tricky, especially if you're not a tribal member. A number of the songs are family songs. Some of the family songs have been released to the drum, meaning the drum has permission to sing them. Some family songs are retained by the family, and are only sung in an honoring and/or giveaway situation.

As LSS mentioned, Historian and Fat Albert have talked about song order. I would add that at a certain time, usually later in the dance, "hero songs" are sung. The warrior/hero's name is mentioned, or if not, the story behind the man in the song is known. Along with this, certain songs might be called "Nudahonga songs", songs about the war party leaders or war dance leaders.

There was an early Ponca way to let a drum know that it was making a mistake. The offended party would stop the singing by putting a blanket on the drum. This person would explain why the song was inappropriate, and the singers were allowed to have the blanket.

At the hethushkas and ilonskas, an order is maintained to the songs. At the Ponca Powwow, there is an attempt to maintain that order, as well. There was also an attempt to not repeat a song, once sung. If someone started a song that was sung a couple hours previously, there were going to be some ugly stares and furrowed brows.
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Old 04-03-2007, 12:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LSS View Post
The songs you sing are a matter of personal preference. If you're gonna sing someone elses songs, especially if they're on a recording, make sure you sing them correctly. Be aware that sometimes native words on recordings do not always come out very clear. The best way to learn is from an individual. Even then, you need to be aware of who you are learning from. For example, there are (I think) 4 different dialects of the Pawnee Language.
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yea...and the funny thing is..you know the reason you can't understand the words on tapes...is because every singer is singin their own version with there own dialects...thats why you listen to it and say..ohh they said this...then next pushup...no wait...they said...huh??? lol
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Old 04-03-2007, 12:52 PM   #10
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There is this aspect. The song's words are altered a little from the way they are spoken, in order to fit the beat. For example, when singing the song mentioning Wegacapi, I was told the words were, "Ah wo deh nay yah"; "Where are you going"? [pardon my spelling]. When the song is started, it sounds like, "Wo deh nay".

The syllabic accent may change. An instance is with the word, "nudahonga", which is normally spoken, "nudáhonga". When sung, it may change to, "núdahónga" or "nudáhongá.
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Old 04-04-2007, 10:11 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gledanh Zhinga View Post
There is this aspect. The song's words are altered a little from the way they are spoken, in order to fit the beat. For example, when singing the song mentioning Wegacapi, I was told the words were, "Ah wo deh nay yah"; "Where are you going"? [pardon my spelling]. When the song is started, it sounds like, "Wo deh nay".

The syllabic accent may change. An instance is with the word, "nudahonga", which is normally spoken, "nudáhonga". When sung, it may change to, "núdahónga" or "nudáhongá.

Great points by all!
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Its not the final destination that defines us, rather the journey taken!
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:43 PM   #12
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Years ago, Clyde Warrior told me that there were four "calling songs" which were required to be sung near the beginning of the hethuska. They are not sung all in a row like a string of pearls. I can only remember two of them. For pronunciation, the Continental Vowel system is used. "th" is pronounced like a soft "l." "zh" is pronounced as in "pleasure." Capital "N" is nazalized.

One song begins;
uhe shubthle mashe noNzhiNga The way (road); I am coming.
moNbtha thihe oNdoNbabida Stand aside; clear the road.
etc.

Another is sometimes called a prayer song:
wakoNda gaxabe hethuska gaxabe God (gave) or made this hethuska way for us. It repeats this sentence throughout the song.

Recently, I heard Sylvester Warrior on tape mentioning a song that should always be sung near the beginning of the dance. Perhaps it is a third "calling song." (?)

noNzhiN ti the tho be [repeats} 'noNzhiN" means to arise.
hethuska zani noNzhiN ti the tho be o he the oem. "hethuska zani" means "hethuska members; all." This song indicates that when a song is sung, no one remains seated. All arise to take part in the dance.

I'm open to corrections, additions, subtractions.
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Old 07-01-2012, 02:47 AM   #13
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Gledanh Zhinga...

I have watched your posts on here for a while and just wanted you to know that I always am glad to hear your imput when it comes to the subject of Ponca singing and songs. Everytime I read your words it reminds me of a man's voice I used to know and miss deeply... he taught me a lot, and you echo in your posts a lot of what he used to tell me.

Thanks for sharing... your posts are MUCH appreciated.
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Old 07-01-2012, 02:14 PM   #14
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Gledanh Zhinga...

I have watched your posts on here for a while and just wanted you to know that I always am glad to hear your imput when it comes to the subject of Ponca singing and songs. Everytime I read your words it reminds me of a man's voice I used to know and miss deeply... he taught me a lot, and you echo in your posts a lot of what he used to tell me.

Thanks for sharing... your posts are MUCH appreciated.
Backatcha. Thanks. I was born in 1935, so I want to share what little I've learned while time allows.

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Old 02-26-2013, 04:30 PM   #15
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noNzhiN ti the tho be [repeats} 'noNzhiN" means to arise.
hethuska zani noNzhiN ti the tho be o he the oem. "hethuska zani" means "hethuska members; all." This song indicates that when a song is sung, no one remains seated. All arise to take part in the dance.
The man I learned from told us about this song, that it was one to be sung at the beginning of the session if say, someone else had sung the starting song, or for whatever reason. But it was a beginning song not be sung out of place. It was also a song that he used to help demonstrate the "Ponca slur" where the words would be spoken one way and sung another... we would always sing this one as (I apologize, but I'm trying to spell this out more how it would be sung phonetically not as it would be spelled)... Nah-zee-chi-lay-do-bay instead of Nah-zee tee-aye-tho-bay... I always liked this song a lot... glad you mentioned it.
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