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Old 08-05-2005, 05:08 PM   #1
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Question Question on Southern Singing

I was judging a southern drum and saw a drum pass the leads four times to four different singers. To me, passing leads is not a part of southern singing. As a result, I gave no points for the Lead.

This drum is a good drum! But to me, multiple leads in the same song is NOT a part of southern singing (I have seen a person who leads a song, pass the lead to another singer, and this is acceptable).

What's your take?
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Old 08-05-2005, 06:45 PM   #2
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Hmmm....I'd always wondered how some judges feel when singers pass on the lead to other singers.
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Old 08-06-2005, 02:35 AM   #3
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Well...the way it was explained to me was this....

Whenever you have a person start up a song, a certain set of dynamics have been established. When the lead changes, so does the dynamics.

Its like everyones fingerprint....mine is different from yours! LOL! No two people have identical voices...and therefore no two people have identical leads. The drum has to be careful of that when they come in with their second! Also, you run the risk of the beat changing as well.....

In all....its too risky!

My take on lead change is that it should not happen. It should be the same person all four pushes (esp. in a contest song). Whenever I think of lead changing I think of Northern Singing.

Be a man...sing all four pushes....let us have something to base your leads off of. LOL
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Old 08-08-2005, 10:15 AM   #4
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Talking Judging Insight.

I 've had the honor to judge a few contests, and have discovered the following:

> The rules/guidelines for judging is usually determined by the the head Singing/drum judge.

> The geographic area and local tribal customs will also impact how contests judge their drums.

For example, pow-wows in the Midwest circuit, usually look for the lead singer to begin and end the song. It is expected that, to show versitality and Skill, 1 to 2 other singers will lead the second and third push-up of a contest song. This is viewed as a way to separate a close drum contest--"Are the quality of leads the same/or close as the 1st lead?"

Of course there are other areas that a drum is judged by, but to answer the question at hand, this is what I've seen out there.
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Old 08-08-2005, 04:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niwiwan2005
I 've had the honor to judge a few contests, and have discovered the following:

> The rules/guidelines for judging is usually determined by the the head Singing/drum judge.

> The geographic area and local tribal customs will also impact how contests judge their drums.

For example, pow-wows in the Midwest circuit, usually look for the lead singer to begin and end the song. It is expected that, to show versitality and Skill, 1 to 2 other singers will lead the second and third push-up of a contest song. This is viewed as a way to separate a close drum contest--"Are the quality of leads the same/or close as the 1st lead?"

Of course there are other areas that a drum is judged by, but to answer the question at hand, this is what I've seen out there.
Hmmm....Thats a very interesting point you've made....Versatility!....

I know out here pow wow committees typically put together a little "declaration" describing the set rules of the Tribe. Would it be wise for the Head Singer or some drum representative talk with the Head Drum/Singing Judge to get some clarity on his "requirements"? Or would this be considered rude?
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Old 08-08-2005, 05:17 PM   #6
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I was taught that if you lead off a song, you should be prepared to finish that song. That said, I also started singing when 1st place drum money of $500 was considered huge! Nowadays, most big name drums won't even travel for less than $3,000. Different times for sure.

I think that with so many different ways of doing things and so many rules, that the guidelines should be spelled out by each committee. If a person, as a judge, then has a problem with the guidelines they can either take it up with the head judge or simply keep their mouth shut and not judge.

Nowadays, it seems to be the practice for northern drums to pass leads on all four push-ups of a contest song. Personally, I don't care for that rule. It should be up to the head singer who leads and how many times...not the head singing judge or pow wow committee. It'd be good to see it get back to a contest about overall singing quality from the group; not who leads or how many different leads or whatnot.
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Old 08-08-2005, 10:35 PM   #7
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Passing

To me, passing the lead is showing confidence in the drum that everyone sitting around it knows what there sinnging and therefore knows what there doing. The ability for multiple people to sing lead is a good thing, and in my opinion should be recognized in a drumming competition.
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Old 08-08-2005, 11:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhoMe
I was judging a southern drum and saw a drum pass the leads four times to four different singers. To me, passing leads is not a part of southern singing. As a result, I gave no points for the Lead.

This drum is a good drum! But to me, multiple leads in the same song is NOT a part of southern singing (I have seen a person who leads a song, pass the lead to another singer, and this is acceptable).

What's your take?
I think a lot of southern drums do it to show style. Everyone has their own voice, and can add to the overall sound. I know at dances where there is a head singer/center drum, no leads are passed, only songs...like what singerdad was saying: the person who starts, finishes. I see your point big time. But I see the other side too: Did the ballot have anything on there about switching leads for southern drum contest? If the drum judge/comittee had it in their interest to make specifications like that one, then I think they wouldve let the drums know ahead of time so points would be deducted. Im sure if the drum knew that you werent gonna give them any points for the leads, then I think they wouldve had just one lead on the song.
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Old 08-09-2005, 12:45 PM   #9
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Point of Clarification:

I am talking about southern singing criteria in southern singing competition.


It is generally acknowledged in contemporary northern singing, the passing of leads is normal.

__

I was the head drum judge recently and selected northern and southern judges who were extremely knowledgeable and had first hand knowledge of their particular style of singing.

In the southern category there was a drum that had superior singers but followed a contemporary style that was more in line with northern style singing. The only difference being they sang in the more lower voice range.

As it turned out, a more traditional style of southern drum who adhered to a more traditional style southern protocol won the contest.

It was a case of flash (bling-bling) vs. tradition.

The drum that won: did not have dancers singing, did not pass any leads, did not put modern emphasis "northern beats," sang tribal songs and stuck with the basics.

I stood by the decision of the judges because they were all current singers and "were raised around the drum."

__


Maybe drum contests should begin to include both southern contemporary and separate southern traditional categories?



What do you think?



Some northern drum groups actually sing southern songs now in a southern lower voice range - particularly for the men's fancy dance category.


Maybe we should consider the following question:

At what point does southern singing become "GENERIC?"
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Last edited by WhoMe; 08-09-2005 at 12:56 PM..
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Old 08-09-2005, 02:15 PM   #10
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I think you made a fair decision! Seems as if a lot people get caught up in the lead of a song, i mean, yes its a huge part of drum contest, but You brought up a lot of things that every judge should know when judging southern drums...Only problem with that is I dont feel that the majority of the drum judges that are picked have the knowledge that you have. Thats what I was trying to get to in my last post.
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Old 08-09-2005, 02:20 PM   #11
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Yes in-deed....

Every person on the pow wow trail should read this thread...

I'm not being a jerk....just doin' what I know to be right!
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Old 08-11-2005, 02:22 AM   #12
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Well, let's see...passing the lead of a song around to different singers is something that I do, but I do it at small dances and mainly to help newer singers learn how to lead (it is much easier to lead/start a song in time if it is already going than right off the bat, especially for new singers) and I never do it at contest dances. I may also pass a lead if it is late on Sunday and my voice is getting a bit rough...but that is another story...LOL.

I would have judged the same way you mentioned you did. Passing a lead is not something that one would see done around a traditional southern drum.

Now as for this whole contemp Southern category...why bother...just do a contemp singing category that includes both Northern and Southern drums and let them battle it out, especially since contemp southern drums have a lot of northern influence to them anyway. What ever happened to those good ole short, sweet and kickin southern songs...nobody make them anymore. Most all the new songs you need a third lung to lead since they are so dang long. My, my time are a changin aren't they!!!
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My comments are based on what I have been taught and my experiences over the years I have been around the circle. They should in no way be taken as gospel truths and are merely my opinions or attempts at passing on what I have learned while still learning more.
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Old 08-11-2005, 11:38 AM   #13
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Talking Southern Style in the North

Southern: Tradish or Contemporary

It's my opinion that the "Basics" or traditional way of southern style is best--overall. With that being said, here's another thought. One tends to see more Southern Contemporary style among pow-wows whose host nation is northern. At these "northern" pow-wows, the dancers tend to dance harder for a drum that is "all-that!" I expect that some southern drums feel the need to add the northern ways to the southern style, so that they will have more of a chance during northern contests. Who knows for sure?

What is for sure is...Southern contemporary, as a style, will continue to be around, and those who judge it, will have a challenge as to the criteria they use!
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Old 08-11-2005, 01:58 PM   #14
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Well, I myself agree with powwowbum. I like to pass the lead sometimes during intertribals and non contest songs, because it does save my voice more, and it kind of gives another sound to the song besides the same leads over and over. Now, if someone were to add south. cont. as a category, and it caught on at other powwows, that would take away from the traditional way, and encourage newer younger and up/coming singers to go comtemp instead of trad. BUT I suppose that is a good thing as long the youth is singing??
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Old 08-12-2005, 03:40 PM   #15
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About passin' leads

Hey Broz, This is Sandman from Bear Heart greeting U all. I was checkin out the thread.

I'd like to add my 2 cents. I think that when drums pass leads it shows the versatility of the whole groups ability to sing. I've observed other drums at contest due this and it really does show a drums talent. Alot of drums, southern and northern do it. There are always risks at contests, thats what makes it a contest. The quality(appropriateness) of the song, the vocals and harmony, the strength of volume is what should be judged. Not who you know, or if thats one persons opinion (of how it's supposed to be), It's all good brothers!

Just enjoy the music.
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Old 08-12-2005, 05:33 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Hey Broz, This is Sandman from Bear Heart greeting U all. I was checkin out the thread.
Hey man- enjoyed listenin to u guys @ Mayetta this year, keep up the good singin!!!
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Old 08-15-2005, 12:03 PM   #17
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On the leads it shouldn't be down graded if there are 4 different lead. If this is tradition and it is, then you must also take into account dressing at the drum as well. That means either you are dancing or singing? Then no shorts, t-shirts, bandanas and such. If your going to judge true southern style.

Otherwise its a competition pow-wow and you do what you gotta do to basically win.
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Old 08-15-2005, 08:56 PM   #18
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Osiyo Who Me,
I sing Southern along with Northern and have judged and sang in competition. How I have seen it done is who Leads the song finishes the song, be it Northern or Southern style. Leads only change when a different song starts to save voices. As for the contemporary for Southern I wonder if our Teachers that have crossed are hickin up a fuss or what. Sorry I guess I am old time Southern...Honor beats in the middle with a 5 beat stop and Northern...Honor in the tail with 3 beat stop. Wado Fred McCall
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Old 08-16-2005, 08:39 AM   #19
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Basically what it boils down to is that its a "SINGING" contest. It doesn't matter how you get it done,....ultimately, you're gonna have those who feel like the leads in the songs should be sang by the same person and then you're gonna have those who really don't give a damn. It's like when I'm out there dancing! If I want to win, I've gotta try to have an idea of what the judges will be looking for; right or wrong. This can be a pain in the butt. I for one don't like changing my style and it upsets me me there are judges there who have no clue what they're looking for in the dance. Or, even better, when you know you don't stand a chance b/c either the judges are hand picked to predict the outcome or the tabulator fudges the scores. The same thing can happen and has happened before when it comes to singing contest.

My best advice, if everyone wants to contribute in the singing contest, is to have everyone have a handful of songs they know and lead very well. Keep them on standby and whenever the opportunity for contest comes up, sing all 4 leads themselves. It's better to be safe than sorry! I can't imagine someone docking a drum points just b/c they didn't pass the lead. If this has happened in your neck of the woods, please let us know.

For goodness sakes, just look for what you're suppose to be looking for! Think "outside your box" sometimes.

Jason Evans
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To get a true picture of your purpose in life, you only get the whole picture when you listen with your mind, your ears and your heart. This way The Creator has a direct connection with you and only you...no outside interference.

When you follow the will of IT that created you, understanding that your purpose is not for you...but for IT and all that IT has created, there can be no wrong except failure to be obedient. Only then do we jeopardize the gifts we are given.

Its not the final destination that defines us, rather the journey taken!
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Old 08-16-2005, 03:32 PM   #20
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