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-   -   Question on good manners at the drum (http://forums.powwows.com/f19/question-good-manners-drum-1730/)

CEM 01-21-2002 01:44 PM

Question on good manners at the drum
Yesterday at singing practice we were discussing some people who occassionally sing with us. Recently at a dance they showed up in the middle of a set while we were singing, came out to the center drum with their chairs & sticks, and made a bunch of people move over so they could sit where they want during the middle of a song. There were already two drums set up and more than a dozen guys there, so it was a bit inconvenient.

I was told that if you are late that you should wait until the set is over to come out to the center drum. From a practicle standpoint, setting up your chair in the middle of the song just disrupts everything. Chances are people will screw up the song because they are concentrating on moving their chair around instead of singing. I think it's just kind of rude to do this. I've heard that some headsingers will not let you set up with them for any of the sessions if you are late to the first one.

What does everyone else think? Am I being petty and worrying about nothing or should they wait until the set is over to come out? One of the people in our discussion said that singers do this all the time in Oklahoma. Is it the consensus that this is true?

I'd like to hear some opinions. Thanks.

echohawk neconie 01-21-2002 03:17 PM

Yes you are right, people that are late to sit at the center drum should wait till the end of the set. The should not walk out in the middle of the song. They should wait and then go to the head singer and ask to sit in or appologize if they are late. If you are et up on the side of the arena thats a different story but the center drum is to. So at practice you should let them know in a polit manner.

wyat 01-21-2002 05:01 PM

Late to a Gourd Dance Set
CEM brought up a Great topic. I'd like to expand this to ask if there is a difference between being late during a Gourd Dance/set of Gourd songs or late to regular Powwow singing.

In my opinion I would at the very least wait until the song is over and more likly the set, session, or a break if I was late.

I was at a small Gourd Dance were a man made an announcement about never walking in front of a Gourd Dancer while they were dancing. A few spectators accidently wandered through the few speratic chairs set up to form an arena. Is there a difference if singers do it?

Beth 01-21-2002 05:12 PM

I was taught that if you are late you wait for the end of the set.
I have seen head singers in OK close the drum to people like that and then open to people that come in at the right time. I was taught that the head singer controls the drum.

echohawk neconie 01-21-2002 06:41 PM

you are right beth, In a gourd dance you must always wait till the set is finished before you enter the dance arena. As for the people that walked through the area they should pay more attention to what the M.C. says. That is how I was tought in Oklahoma.

cbelisle 01-22-2002 12:48 AM

Respect for the drum and hosts
I had been on the executive board of an intertribal group for 7 years setting up powows. Not big but averaged 4,000 spectators and about 300 dancers. It was rare but there were some groups that outright refused to drum for the gourd dancers. Would not show up until grand entry time so we would have to ask the other host drum who was on timel to sing. They were also late for grand entry. This paticular group that was late were getting paid to do it. We did not know this about them when we asked. Needless to day they were blacklisted. It was total disrespect for the host as well as the dancers. We had been fortunate to have good MC's and Arena directors who would speak to the drums to get there input as well as what we expected. Walking up to a drum was a no, no during a set. Especially with dancers around. What goes around comes around. Respect goes both ways.

powwowbum49 01-22-2002 02:48 AM


I have seen many folks just walk right out whenever, but that don't make it right. I always try to wait until the set is finished before I go out, though I can say I have had headsingers wave for me to come on out in the middle of a set too. Gourd, intertribal, contest -- same common curtesy for all. Now as for practice.....well.....you might be worrying too much there. If it is something your headsinger doesn't want done during practice or around his drum then fine, he will say something, but I have never had a problem with it at my practices.

CEM 01-22-2002 09:14 AM

Just for clarification, it didn't happen at practice. We were talking about it at practice. It happened at a dance.


echohawk neconie 01-22-2002 03:43 PM

If you have a powwow and you have a southern group that you are going to call on, you should always let them know that you would like them to sing gourd dance up front. But being a southern group they should always know what might be required of them at any powwow.

cbelisle 01-22-2002 09:38 PM

Yes, that is a prerequisite of all drums is knowing what we need from them and what they will do for us and their needs. These drums were asked a year before the powwow. I have done planning for powwows for over 7 years. This group knew but chose not to come and sit nor did they show up until about 5 minutes before grand entry. These were not new singers just arrogant. It was very embarassing to have all of the Gourd dancers standing around the arena within the circle waiting for the call. We had a Head Gourd dancer to lead the way.This action was so disrespectful. Plus having over 300 dancers and 4000 spectators. My group provided very well for our drum groups to be at our powwows. On the other side of the coin I have groups that were excellent and were asked to come again. Thanks for your response.

Old_G 01-23-2002 07:58 PM

It is rude to sit down in the middle of the set. I am from oklahoma and this happens a lot. But people thses days dont seem to understand. These young guys these days have no respect for anybody or they wont listen. The head singer will put you where he wants you to sit. you dont sit where you want to unless he tells you that. But its reall y not that big of a deal. Regardless what we say or do, theres always going to be someone who does that. Just make sure its not you. Remember you go to the drum to sing and make people feel good, not to worry about who sits where. Thank you.

:38: Old_G

travelingmocs 01-23-2002 08:19 PM

It is rude to do that, but it also the head singers responciblity to fix the problem. The H.S. is the boss and he decides where people sit and when they can come in and sit at the drum.....

prairie_storm2000 01-25-2002 03:12 PM

Take my opinion for what its worth.
Thoughts are thought, in the mind, that come from the mentally aspect. It sounds as though you are in conflict within you're self in. When it comes to the heart, how you feel, happy, angry,etc. then that is emotional aspect. Then there is the spiritual aspect of everything. Singing for prayers, healing etc. To remember that that thinking is different from feeling, that feeling is different from praying and vice versa.

You talk about thinking. Competition wise, who gets in, rules. Perhaps that is why communication is important. Before you go to sing, discuss this with your singers, and come up with ideas together and decisions on how everyone will behave.
Your opinion is as valuable as well as anyone else's is. When ideas, feelings, and prayer are circuilated in the drum then then drum will be strong.

Keep Singing, with thoughts, feelings and prayer.

Mato Winyan 01-27-2002 01:51 AM

I was there and saw this and wondered about it at the time. One thing you guys didn't mention was how old the first one was that went out. Not that youth is an excuse. The parent should have corrected this. Then head singer or even the older singers. How is he supposed to learn if nothing is said to him, but is talked about later when he is not present.
Can't have good feelings come from the drum with bad feelings at the drum.

moose2u 01-27-2002 03:07 PM

I was always told to wait until the song or set is finished. You really don't want singers to have to moooove over when they are singing. Good manners. I agree with Mato Winyan-we should not be afraid to help others learn. :)

wyat 02-07-2002 03:25 PM

manners around the drum
What about bad breath and gas?

SouthernSinger 02-07-2002 05:13 PM


Goes with everything else in life....if you are rude, crude, and socially unacceptable, you'll generally be avoided and frowned upon.

As a great man once said, "Anyone who will fart in a crowd will **** in a congregation." :p :p

I think that applying good manners at the drum (appearance and actions) generally will get you a long way as far as respect is concerned.


BeadedPony 02-08-2002 12:03 PM

As a lady singer, I'd like to make a few comments about the chorus line, as well. A lot of times the women think that sitting in the chorus line is a great time to gossip and chat it up. They'll talk and visit all through the songs without doing much singing. There's a definite place in the songs for the women to sing, aside from the great sound it gives the sounds, it also allows the men to take a slight breather.

Proper attire is another thing the women need to be aware of -- no shorts, halter tops (sorry, guys :Cry ) and always bring a shawl.

Black Eagle 02-09-2002 02:33 AM

I can't agree more with the attire. But not just for the women, male singers should try to have a neat appearance at the drum as well. Something comfortable and clean, not dirty and torn up (like old jeans with paint slatters and holes and a tank top white t shirt with motor oil stains and dry blood). Sorry about the extreme description, but I felt it needed to be shared.


Beth 02-10-2002 05:08 PM

Beaded Pony
Thank you. That is a pet peeve of mine. Also the women that mumble through any song except if they have a women singers song. At that time they stand up and people put money on the seats. They sit down and continue to mumble for the rest of the session.

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